Northwest Independent School District is leading the pack in digital learning, and its superintendent is being recognized for the success.
Dr. Karen Rue received the 2012 Bayard H. Friedman Hero Award for being the most outstanding superintendent in North Texas.
Rue remains hands-on as students evolve and a school district rapidly expands around her.
"We have said hello to 17,700 students this year," Rue said.
Rue became Northwest ISD's superintendent seven years ago. Since then, the district has gained 10,000 students, and it's growth that attracted Rue. She calls it an opportunity to create.
"We are literally building a school system, communities, together," Rue said.
As the district develops, Rue has turned classrooms into laboratories of learning.
"We have changed the tools we have for use in the classrooms," Rue said. "They are literally digital platforms. The kids have everyday access to iPads and to computers. The teachers use a completely digital teaching platform."
It has not been an easy journey. Northwest ISD spans 14 cities and three counties. As school districts across the state face budget cuts, superintendents must deal with the challenge.
Rue said Northwest ISD has been reduced $22 million in state funding in the past two years. Despite these cutes, she said they have found ways to keep focus on the classroom.
"We are finding ways to sustain what we are doing by thinking differently about the operational side of the district," Rue said.
It is her determination to keep up with technology and a culture that is built on instant information that is building her reputation.
"We have a district filled with people who have caught the vision," Rue said.
NBC 5 and Score a Goal in the Classroom hand out the Bayard H. Friedman Hero Award each year.