I’ve never been a big fan of awards shows.
I’m the kind of guy who falls asleep during the Oscars. If I had a choice between the Grammys and RHONJ on my DVR, I’d take Teresa Guidice and her special brand of crazy every time. That’s saying something.
Self-promotion just isn’t my thing.
Which is why, when a few of my friends and colleagues tapped me to head to San Francisco this week for the annual SIIA CODiE Awards ceremony (our Let’s Talk! community engagement solution was a finalist in the Best Collaborative Community Solutions for Educators category), I was hesitant.
Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to win. We all did. The CODiEs have been called the Academy Awards of educational technology. Unlike other educational software awards, you only get a CODiE if you manage to thoroughly impress a panel of educator judges. There are demos and phone interviews and a rigorous application process. It’s a big deal–and a win (we did win, by the way–that’s me cheesing for the camera above!) would carry real weight, both as validation for our team and five-plus years of research and product development. Not to mention our more than 250 school district partners across the country, who rely on us every day.
I’m just not all that comfortable with the attention. This might sound strange, but I think, in a way, that’s true of our team and our company too. At K12 Insight, we’ve always reveled in helping school districts tell their stories. Our goal is to listen, and help school districts listen to their communities. For years, we’ve measured our success, in large part, by the success of others.
Educators are this way. You’d be hard-pressed to name a school leader or a principal or a teacher from your own life who went to work in search of some personal or public recognition. Your success was all the validation they ever needed–and, in most cases, that was enough for them to do their work and do it well.
Every day, educators in every corner of this country and this world do the incredible. Most of them will never receive any reward or acknowledgement for their work. But they do it anyway. Because they care.
This is what was going through my head as I walked on stage Tuesday to accept the CODiE on behalf of our team and our school district friends and partners. That, and “Corey, whatever you do, please don’t trip going up those stairs.”
And so, as we reflect on this tremendous honor and think about what all of this innovation means for our schools and for our students, I’d be remiss not to thank each and every school leader, teacher, and staff member who has supported K12 Insight and Let’s Talk! in our mission.
I hope you’ll continue to join us in our commitment to listen to educators and to help tell the stories of all the selfless individuals who make learning possible every day.
See you at next year’s awards. Until then, I’ll be at home cleaning out my DVR.