SPRINGTOWN — Amanda Lanicek started her career in education to make the classroom a better place for kids who don’t like school.
“I didn't love education as a student, so it was always my passion and mission to make education as non-traditional as possible, make it fun for kids,” Lanicek said. “That is why I chose to get into education is to kind of break the cycles where kids get bored and things like that and really engage them.”
To this end, work has led her to multiple schools to hold a variety of K-12 education roles, including high school science teacher, elementary school educator, digital learning coach, instructional coach and more recently, Springtown’s digital learning director. Now, she is ready for a new job.
Springtown Independent School District’s board of trustees recently promoted Lanicek to the position of executive director of technology. This is a new position that was created after Chief Technology Officer Robert McHenry retired after working at SISD for 22 years.
SISD Superintendent Shane Strickland called Lanicek a “tremendous asset to the district.”
“I think hiring a good quality staff or keeping a good quality staff hired on is important,” Strickland said. “Her communication with the campuses and the staff around the district is already exceeding expectations. I think that's critical that she had that relationship with the teaching staff. Technology is ever-changing, so she'll constantly have to evaluate where we are and where we need to be going.”
Lanicek, who is in her 16th year in education and her fourth year at SISD, is proud to be an educator in this new position. She’s worked with technical aspects of education and believes in utilizing technology in the classroom.
“Education has evolved. Technology is in our everyday lives as civilians, as students as well,” she said. “I like to just embrace that technology and see how we can use it; let students learn the use of the different devices, different apps, technologies, but also keep them safe.”
A big misconception Lanicek has noticed about digital learning is the idea that technology will replace teachers, but she said that definitively is not the case. She also pointed out that when Springtown kids use technology on the school’s system, there are filters in place to keep them on instructional sites and tools, not just freely surfing the web.
While using technology in class can supplement instruction, it can also present a learning opportunity to younger students, Lanicek said.
“Just the basics of digital citizenship, I think, is very important because at some point, they're all going to have a cell phone in their hand, which is just a computer in their hand,” she said. “If we can teach them now how to be responsible digital citizens, I think that it will pay off in the long run.”
Moving forward, Lanicek hopes to resolve outstanding technical needs in the district and then plan for the future.
“Mr. McHenry left us in great hands; he built our current network,” Lanicek said. “Now, I'm working to figure out where are our needs.”
Above all else, Lanicek wants the Springtown ISD community to know she always puts kids and their needs first.
“We're not going to purchase different technologies just because they're flashy,” she said. “We'll make sure that it's in the students’ best interests and that it's instructional.”