Heroes Among Us: I Want to Be "Bob" #actem10

Bob Hickey (IT Director), Mrs. Asselin, Bob Asselin & Donna Morten.

“Bob to the kids is like Luke Skywalker with his Wii remote light saber in his hand, slashing through the air and taking away the fear of technology.”  Donna Morton, Teacher, about Bob Asselin at the ACTEM 2010 Awards Banquet.

Angela Maiers and I are keynoting at ACTEM in Maine tomorrow, however my “keynote” was tonight as I heard the amazing award winners receive presentations at the awards dinner.
I was particularly moved to tears at the speeches about and by Bob Asselin as I think this represents who I wish and dream I could be.
With the permission of the nominators Donna Morten and Bob Hickey as well as  Bob Asselin himself, I have excerpted some of the speeches about him because I think every technology integrator or IT director should read them and aspire to be like Bob.
I have highlighted the sections that particularly moved me just to add a little emphasis.
From Donna Morten:

“First of all, let me say that it is an honor and a privilege to work with Bob Asselin and to
recognize him as a Technology Leader. Bob represents both very well: Technology
and Leadership. The underpinnings of both have been supported by his experience as
a Teacher.
He has been a champion of Technology since its inception and he has shown
Leadership the best way – Leadership by example.
I have worked with Bob for almost 30 years. He was teacher in Lincoln for 8 years and then came to Windham as a science teacher and for the last 8 years he has been our Technology Integration Specialist.
He supports not just one class, or building, but the whole district, including Adult Ed.Food Service, Central Office, Bus Garage, Secretaries, Specials Ed., Administrators, Educators and most importantly, the students. Bob is our knight in shining armor. Bob loves teaching; he loves students, his coworkers and everyone he comes in contact with. And with all of them, the feeling is mutual. Everyone was so excited for Bob to win this much deserved award.
He is passionate about education, the future of the children, giving them the best tools they can get so they can face the world. And he is also passionate about getting the teachers the tools they need too.
In terms of Technology:
Bob has supported technology in schools since the earliest days: Mac, PC, Unix,– . It is hard to imagine how he can keep up with all the programs, updates and knowledge to share. Bob has been making the changes in technology less scary and always is embracing the opportunities for improvement.
Bob has always worked well with students and staff at all levels. Even the youngest children light up as he enthusiastically teaches them programs from KidPix, to PowerPoint, and many other software applications. I’m not sure who lights up the most when playing with technology – Bob or the kids. Bob has championed technology such as Smart Boards bringing interactivity into the classroom so children can participate in their education.
Bob to the kids is like Luke Skywalker with his Wii remote light saber in his hand, slashing through the air and taking away the fear of technology.
Easily moving from the smallest children to the Middle School where they tackle the world with their one-to-one Macs, they are lead by their hero Bob Asselin using the internet to find answers. He was a huge proponent of 1:1 computing and helped implement the MLTI Program. He has promoted library skills with Winnebago and Alexandria, and other programs such as Scholastic Read 180.
About 4 years ago, Bob saw Moodle at an Actem conference and came back like an excited kid – saying we have to do this, we have to have Moodle!! Bob loves to try new things!! He worked hard to launch Moodle –he puts in many, many hours maintaining the Moodle server, administrating user accounts and teaching teaches how to create classes and post content to it. It is now a critical shared resource with Sebago Alliance to which Bob can take much credit!
Bob’s room is called the TLC room- Technology Learning Center- But it really is the TLC room Including a bottomless bowl of chocolates!! We love Bob!

From Bob Hickey, IT Director:

High School:
Well we’ve covered the small children and the medium sized children. Now we are
moving to Bob’s support of the large-children, we visit Bob’s time as a High School
Science Teacher. What other jobs allow you to combine your passion for science with
the latest/greatest technology – you can mix diet coke, mentos and YouTube – not get
in trouble and get paid!!
Bob is well regarded by the Science Teachers he worked with for so many years, he is
still a man of science which is why his curiosity is peaked and he chases down details
in a methodical way all while having fun. He doesn’t look like Bill Nye but we wouldn’t
trade him.
Bob has been instrumental in supporting the technologies which bridge childhood to
young adult and give them the skills they will need for the future. He has instructed
how to give NWEA assessments, collaborate with Google Apps, supported Distance
Education tools such as VHS, Moodle, Skype and WebEx to take students to every
corner of the world and explore whatever they have always wondered about. Students
at this level have a tool which allows them to compete in the 21st century against
daunting competition from China, India and the rest of the globe. He wants to give
all of our children every opportunity. Bob has always been a proponent of 1:1 and he
has worked hard to help RSU 14 High School students with their first ever 1:1 initiative
– netbooks this summer at WHS. Now he is working on bringing ISTE and NETs
standards to staff and students. He will also help to work with the teachers to bring their
curriculum into all the new technology we’ve launched.
Finally we reach the even largest children – also known as the adults. Let’s see how
Bob has helped them…
Bob is the epitome of patience, he shares all the knowledge he has accrued over the
years and is generous with his time and support.
Bob has done Technology Integration, taught and helped organize the Summer
Tech Camps for 10 years, is instrumental in the Sebago Alliance Tech Integrators
group, trains teachers and staff how to maintain their Savvy Web pages and does
administration of those user accounts. He has headed up the District’s Tech Plan
and been a key member of the Tech Plan Committee, did a web site for the ELS
Family Heritage Festival, was a cornerstone in District Consolidation for Windham and
Raymond as well as Infinite Campus implementation, he teaches wikis, blogs, nings and
all the latest collaborative applications. He not only cares about student success but
student safety – every year he participates in the Internet Safety nights hosted by the
He goes full force at everything he tries. He has been an excellent teacher, mentor,
coworker, employee, technologist, leader, professional, family man and friend.
Mr. Asselin has been like a father to technology in Windham and now in Windham-
Raymond as he paternally raised technology like a frail, faltering child to the head
strong and successful adult it is today.
From old Macs with monochrome screens to the latest in laptops, PCs, Smart Boards
and Smart Phones – Bob has seen it all. He has welcomed change and made it not
scary but exciting to embrace for all our staff.
He shows dedication to his job and the coworkers who surround him and has continued
that tireless effort for over 30 years. Bob’s accomplishments are too numerous to
What is a teacher? Someone who shares, someone who knows and someone who
cares. That is Bob Asselin.

Can you read this and not weep wishing that all of us can be like Bob. I think what touched me the most was Bob's acceptance speech. I'm going to post Bob Sprankle's podcast and the ustream as soon as I get a copy of it so you may listen to the authenticity of a person I can clearly see is a great man.
He said something such as not feeling deserving but that since he was going to accept the award that he accepted the award on behalf of his coworkers and all the people who made it possible for him to do his job.
There are so many of you out there that have been with this since the day of monochrome monitors and cassette players hooked to old PC's with 2K of RAM!
In the Presence of Bob
I am refreshed and humbled. Wishing I could have a good attitude like Bob. Wanting to be patient and helpful. Wanting to continue to be innovative and lead through the next thirty years of technology change as Bob has done and will continue to do.
I want to be like Bob.
And here is the point, I truly believe at this moment that there are thousands of “Bob's” and “Bobbie's” out there this moment. They are reading this post amidst a stack of papers and a coffee cup. Never considering how much they are appreciated and loved by their fellow workers. Never knowing that they help so much in so many ways.  Never realizing that they are a “Luke Skywalker” and a hero – imparting TLC and candy as well as a hearty dose of love, sweat, and technology to those around them.
I don't know Bob but tonight I felt like I did. I saw a humble man who is loved and adored by those around him and I hope that those who feel this about him will add their words to the pittance I can write about a man I just met.
I felt moved to tears for the thousands of you out there who tirelessly serve and never seek the spotlight for your keyboard weary fingers. You deserve to be thanked.
And the other award winners were just as stunning and incredible. In talking about Bob, I know that I run the risk of the others thinking that somehow they didn't measure up. In fact, I could have written the same about all four of them. But just something about these speeches just touched me to the core and I had to share in the brief moments I have tonight.
Will you take time to thank “your Bob?”
This moment, I think that Bob would be most happy if you would go and thank your “Bob” today. Go and say thank you in person or publicly to this person who gives and helps you – should be so blessed as to have such a person.
Bob's don't come around often, but when they do — appreciate them and tell them how you feel. They've earned it.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Michael Richards October 27, 2010 - 4:53 am

Thank you Vicki for being here in Maine and helping to promote some of the people we are so proud of to call colleagues!

coolcatteacher October 27, 2010 - 5:00 am

Thank you for being my friend and helping me so much today at the conference.All of you are just gems here in Maine and I’m looking forward to tomorrow!

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere