02/01/05 — Mrs. Hooks honored by educators for national technology award

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Mrs. Hooks honored by educators for national technology award

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 1, 2005 1:57 PM

Cathie Hooks, fifth-grade teacher at Tommy's Road Elementary School, said five years ago that she had a fear of computers and technology. But she was determined not to pass it on to her students.

"I would not let it keep me from bringing cutting edge technology to my students," Mrs. Hooks said.

Her determination paid off.

Last month, Mrs. Hooks was named the first recipient of a national technology leadership award given by the AOL@School National Education Association Foundation. It was created to recognize teachers who have demonstrated a unique and original approach to the use of instructional technology. She was selected from a field of 53 teachers from across the country representing each of the states and Washington, D.C.

At a reception held in her honor Monday, Mark Stevens, the executive director and general manager of the AOL School program, called Mrs. Hooks "the best of the best."

Patsy Faison, principal of Tommy's Road School, said she considered Mrs. Hooks an innovator and motivator,

"We're so proud of you and how you represent your occupation, your professionalism, and what you mean to Wayne County public schools," said Sprunt Hill, the assistant superintendent for auxiliary services for the Wayne County Schools. "Thank you for what you mean to the kids and thank you to your co-workers, administration and students."

Eddie Davis, president of the state Association of Educators, had accepted the award on Mrs. Hooks behalf in Washington, D.C. in December. He read a letter of congratulations from the NEA Foundation on Monday. He said it was fitting that Mrs. Hooks become the first recipient of the national award, as she "exemplifies everything in American education that we all know and believe in every single day.

"Magic happens in the classroom, but magic does not happen without cooperation."

Shannon Clyde, a student in Mrs. Hooks' class, said she makes learning fun.

"She teaches not just with books but with computers, cameras and more," she said. "She makes me want to come to school."

Mrs. Hooks has taught for 30 years. She said that using the computer and its tools has helped the students dig deeper and go further than they otherwise might.

"Children that have attention problems, put a camera in their hand or a piece of equipment that focuses or narrows their view and they'll work for hours," she said. "They just get lost in their own world."

It debunks the myth, she said, that teachers "teach the test."

"The majority of us are finding ways we can actually educate our children," she said.

In addition to the award, Mrs. Hooks will receive a $2,500 for classroom technology, which she plans to use to buy computers, digital cameras, LCD projects, printers and scanners for her students.