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Whitten earns Certified Education Technology Leader credentials

Tommy Whitten has earned the Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) distinction. He works as district technology coordinator for Madison County Schools. (CONTRIBUTED)
Tommy Whitten has earned the Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) distinction. He works as district technology coordinator for Madison County Schools. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Tommy Whitten has added “Certified Education Technology Leader” (CETL) to his impressive list of accomplishments.

Whitten is the sixth person in Alabama to achieve CETL status. He has worked as district technology coordinator for Madison County Schools for 15 years.

Whitten said CETL certification allows technology leaders “to validate their skills and qualifications in building transformative learning environments.” In addition, a state initiative is underway for school technology officers to have certifications, based on CETL tenets, similar to a district’s chief school financial officer.

Preparing for the exam “reinforced many of my thoughts and practices towards my job and position,” he said. “The exam tests your knowledge and skills needed to successfully build 21st-century learning environments.”

For certification, the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) has defined 10 specific skills: vision, strategy, ethics, professional development, along with management in information technology, communications systems and business.

Whitten manages seven computer services employees who handle the district’s network administration and computer repair. Whitten feels rewarded when his department finishes a major project that will help the district progress “to provide the technology-rich learning environments in the schools.”

“The major challenge is trying to move forward with the lack of funding currently available,” he said.

Whitten serves on the executive board for the Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators & Students Statewide (ACCESS) distance learning program, Alabama Educational Technology Association and several governing boards. He has presented at numerous state and national conferences.

He received the Marbury Technology Innovation Award from the Alabama State Department of Education and “Making IT Happen” award from the International Society of Technology in Education.

Whitten earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at University of North Alabama. After college, he worked as an accountant with FAME Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, then in banking in Birmingham and Huntsville for several years.

He retired from the Alabama National Guard as a lieutenant colonel and is a veteran of Desert Storm. His wife Paula teaches at St. John the Baptist Catholic School. Their son Thomas and his wife Natalie have two daughters, Kennedy and Audrey.

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