Petersburg schools sweep technology conference awards
Jon Kludt-Painter / Submitted Photo
PK Bunyi demonstrating his remote-controlled quadcopter in front of the Alaska Society for Technology in Education in Anchorage. Bunyi was named Alaska Technology Student of the Year.
The Petersburg School District brought home major accolades from Anchorage last weekend after it swept student, teacher and administrator awards at the Alaska Society for Technology in Education (ASTE)-an organization dedicated to promoting access to technology and connectivity to information resources.
Petersburg Senior PK Bunyi won Alaska Technology Student of the Year. Teacher and Technology Coordinator Jon Kludt-Painter won Alaska Technology Support Teacher of the Year and PSD Superintendent Rob Thomason won Alaska Technology Administrator of the Year.
ASTE President Dr. Mark Standley said the awards ceremony is designed to honor educators and students across the state who integrate technology in innovative ways and that this is the first time in ASTE history that a single district has won the majority of the awards.
"We are very excited that Petersburg had a sweep," Standley said. "It speaks to the strength of the teamwork in Petersburg around integrating technology in the schools."
Amanda Duvall was a member of the ASTE committee that decided who won each award and she said it was an easy decision to present the award to Bunyi, Kludt-Painter and Thomason.
"PK (Bunyi) won because he used technology in a personal fun manner with aviation, but also because he works in the community" Duvall said. "He took technology to another level, created fun and engaged the community and showed how technology influences our lives."
Among other projects, Bunyi created a yellow cedar sign for the Petersburg Borough assembly chambers using traditional woodworking tools along with computer aided machining (CAM) software.
He also created the aerial video "A Simple Walk to School" using a Gopro camera attached to a remote controlled helicopter. It has gained wide popularity among the community and is posted on YouTube.
Kludt-Painter taught Bunyi in the 5th grade and continues to work with him today.
"All the expertise that he dumped into that (A Simple Walk to School) was all self driven," Kludt-Painter said. "He's got a depth to him that's pretty amazing, this tenacity to work until he figures it out."
Duvall said she's never seen so many local staff write letters of recommendations for an educator as they did for Kludt-Painter.
"Everybody was raving about how great he is," Duvall said. "Everybody on the board agreed that he is an amazing educator."
Duvall said the same goes for Thomason.
"The reality was, as we read about each one of these individuals, is that they were all using technology in different ways," Duvall said. "This was definitely a year where Petersburg shined in the education technology field. It was pretty darn awesome to see an entire school district win these awards."
Kludt-Painter said that under his leadership, the district has upgraded its bandwidth to four times the level of four years ago and supported: the 1:1 laptop program, the use of touch technology with more than 120 iPads in the middle and elementary schools and having smart boards in every classroom.
"It's a perfect storm in a sense that we have a strong administration that understands what it is to nourish the heart," Kludt-Painter said. "Through that you're able to elevate people to the next level professionally to do whatever it takes to grab the next rung on the