Garret Higginbotham is dramatically impacting his students at Underwood Hills Focus Elementary in Omaha, NE, after only six years in the teaching profession. Through his technological prowess, Higginbotham is an emerging leader within the classroom and throughout the larger school community. Considered a technology wiz kid, Higginbotham mentors teachers on how to incorporate new technologies into their lesson plans, such as websites, blogs and TV productions. He teaches an afterschool course in TV production for the school’s extended-day program and hosts the daily morning newscast. His fifth-grade students produce their own in-class newsletter, perform plays, use computer drafting software, and conduct interviews with local community leaders to apply class topics to real-world scenarios. His students’ high marks on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) are a strong indication that his strategies are as edifying as they are engaging for his students.
Passionate about the interplay of administration with classroom practices, he is currently working on a master’s degree in administration and recently presented at the Nebraska Educational Technology Association conference. Higginbotham is also a leader in the school’s Capstone Projects, intensive learning projects requiring significant effort to plan and implement, including the submission of a final written element from the instructor. Maintaining the school website and working closely with the library’s media specialist to train teachers in emerging technologies, he is securing his students’ and school’s successful future in the 21st century education.