A Regent University adjunct professor is receiving national recognition for enabling technology to be a powerful force in his high school. The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has named Dr. David Guerin, adjunct professor in the School of Education (SOE) and principal of Bolivar High School in Bolivar, Missouri, a 2017 Digital Principal of the Year (DPOY). He is one of three principals in the United States to be recognized.
“Technology allows learning to be customized and student-centered,” said Geurin. “It allows us to leverage our skills and create even more value in learning. Our world is becoming increasingly complex and uncertain. So we want to prepare our students to be adaptable learners, to be able to adjust to rapid changes and be leaders in that. I think it’s also very important that we help our students be caring and compassionate.”
Geurin seeks to inspire his students to be service-minded and make the world a better place. He values developing character over driving achievement, but his efforts to innovate new ways of learning through technology are grabbing attention. The NASSP considered many accomplishments Geurin’s leadership brought to Bolivar High School. In 2015, the school gave students Chromebooks to create a dynamic, student-centered learning environment. It then developed a computer science program to bring more STEM opportunities to students living in the rural school district. Geurin embraced various nontraditional approaches, including social media.
“We have embraced social media as a way to support learning and celebrate the learning culture at our school,” said Geurin. “Many schools have been reluctant to do this. But we really want to be forward thinking and prepare students for the world they live in.”
Geurin used technology to accomplish these objectives. Using his blog and social media, he developed a powerful personal learning network to share and learn new approaches with education leaders around the globe. He also imparts wisdom from his award-winning expertise to his students in Regent’s SOE where he teaches Technology for Administrators. His goal is to turn his students into digital leaders as well.
“In today’s world, anyone who wants to be a principal or other school leader needs to also be a digital leader,” said Geurin. “It’s just not optional anymore. My course examines technology trends, looks at why technology is critical in education and considers how it can best be implemented in schools. It’s always a great experience for me. I often learn about new things happening in schools around the country. The class is completely online, so we’ve even had students from the other side of the world.”
Now in his 21st year as an educator, Geurin built his career as a high school English teacher, basketball coach, and, for the past 12 years, a principal. He’s passionate about helping students and teachers achieve excellence and encourages them to be dream builders, helping students reach their potential. He sees technology as a vehicle to support the empowerment of both his students and his teachers.
“Technology will continue to play a larger role in life and in the classroom too,” said Geurin. “However, I don’t see technology replacing teachers. The human element is too important to learning. The relationship between the student and the teacher is essential. I think we will see more creative uses of technology in the future. Virtual field trips will be common. Classrooms will be more interconnected. Learning will be more flexible with school schedules and timelines blurred by the ability to learn anytime and any place.”
Geurin is excited about the future technology offers but acknowledges there will be challenges. He believes teachers, and his students at Regent, will thrive as they move past assumptions and long-held concepts of what schools should look like and instead adapt and be future-driven.