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Hudson Estepp earns CETL Certification

Posted on: June 24, 2021 1:00 pm
Amy Hudson Estepp, Franklin City Schools' Director of Educational Technology since July 2016, capped off a busy, unusual school year by receiving her CETL (Certified Education Technology Leader) certificate in May. Earning the certification is fairly uncommon; only 50 people in Ohio and a handful in SW Ohio have done so.
"I feel the certification focuses on leadership 101 from a technical standpoint," she said. She noted that the material talks about high-level issues like having a disaster recovery plan; for example, in the event of a network or technology disaster, how would you pay employees?  "A district where someone has CETL certification would be one where the technology department has a seat at the table with the other cabinet-level administrators and they are forced to think about technology issues that weren't on their radar before," she said. Hudson Estepp noted that school district technology is far beyond just assuring that the network is running smoothly; curriculum and technology are now so intertwined that you can't have one without the other; this makes it imperative that the technology department has input at the highest administrative levels. 
Hudson Estepp began her career as a teacher and moved into technology; she taught math for 10 years before transitioning into the tech department at Middletown City Schools. She flirted briefly with the idea of being a school treasurer but after an internship realized she preferred a position that allowed interaction with kids. Just prior to coming to Franklin, she spent two years at Riverview East Academy in Cincinnati as mathematics instructional coach and intermediate assistant principal. In contrast to Hudson Estepp's career path, many people in similar roles come to the job from a technology background. She noted that for that reason, the exam material focuses more on leadership than technology; it assumes you already know the technology. 
She spent 9 months prepping for the exam, meeting weekly with a virtual study group headed by Mike Daughtery, the author Certified EdTech Leadership, the group's study guide, which Hudson Estepp called "a lifesaver." Daughtery is the Director of Technology & Innovation at Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools.
CETL certification is offered by Washington, D.C.-based CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking). To sit for the exam, candidates must have a Bachelor's degree plus four years of demonstrated technology experience in three areas: leadership and vision; understanding the educational environments; and managing technology and support resources. Per their website, CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders and they seek to be a voice in K-12 education.   
Hudson Estepp has a B.S. in Education from Ohio University, an M.A. in School Leadership from Concordia University Chicago, and an M.S. in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. She has additional certifications as a P-6 Mathematics Specialist from Miami University and Educational Specialist (Technology) from University of San Diego. She also has her principal's license, and has taught at the college level, is a published author, and is a frequent presenter at education technology conferences. 
Amy Hudson Estepp