Dennis Stockdale arrived as the superintendent in Garrett, Ind., six years ago, when the Garrett-Keyser-Butler school district seemed as remotely connected to 21st-century learning as its rural landscape might suggest.
Today, amid the farms and small-town stores, all three schools in this 1,800-student district have been equipped with Wi-Fi, elementary school students use their own iPads in class, older students take their MacBook laptops home every day, and a state-of-the art, totally wired high school opened this school year.
Stockdale says he also made sure that all students in his system, 21 miles north of Fort Wayne, 73 percent of whom qualify for subsidized lunches, have equitable access to the Internet beyond school hours.
“The whole key is individualizing instruction and education for the student,” Stockdale says. “We’ve got to reinvent school and make it a place where the kids want to come.”