Director of Human Resources
North Little Rock School District
Karli Saracini began using computers as a high school student taking a basic programming class. She chuckles when she thinks about how primitive the computers were in those days. Nevertheless, that basic computer experience launched Karli on the educational ride she is on today in which digital education is at the forefront.
As an elementary school teacher, Karli embraced technology day in and day out. Her conviction that technology enhances the effectiveness of the learning process lies behind her many efforts to bring technology to students. As the K-12 Curriculum Coordinator at Newport Special School District, she was able to write several grants, one of which was the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) grant. She also acted as the grant director for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP).
Karli is currently the principal and instructional leader at Harrisburg Middle School where she is working to realize her goal of equipping every classroom with cutting-edge technology. Her school has received the STUART-Grant for science which includes a laptop, projector, and Classroom Performance System (CPS). In the 2006-2007 school year, she helped develop the EETT grant for her district that equipped classrooms with laptops, projectors, and interactive whiteboards. Karli notes that one of the positive results of the new technologies has been fewer behavior issues!
In order for her teachers to feel secure in integrating technology, Karli regularly provides professional development. "The team of teachers and administrators attending technology conferences both in and out of state has been eye opening for all," says Karli. "It gives us the chance to see what is out there and what the best research-inspired uses of technology are." The teachers attend the Hot Springs Technology Conference (HSTI) and also the T3 International Conference in Chicago. Professional development for technology integration is provided by Dr. McGehee from the University of Central Arkansas throughout the school year.
Applying technology to specific programs is perhaps Karlis' greatest accomplishment. She helped implement the EAST program which provides a performance-based learning environment through technology. (Coincidently, EAST is facilitated by her husband Trent.) She also started a First Lego League team which has taken home many awards at the state competition. Technology is so highly integrated into this program that students do not even realize they are using technology. "They just think they are learning math and science!" Karli exclaims. Funding is the only thing holding Karli back from doing even more.
Karli’s dedication to digital leadership can be seen on and off the school grounds. To keep up-to-date in educational issues, she reads, Educational Leadership, and Tech Directions. Karli also enjoys using Google Docs to write collaboratively with other educators.
When she is not acting as a technology pioneer, you can find Karli traveling or playing golf. Recently, she traveled with her husband Trent and son Trey to see the nation’s capital. She said Mount Vernon was spectacular. Karli and her husband regularly play in golf tournaments, and Karli has won several. However, with her dedication to education being so profound, we’re not likely to see her walking on the LGPA tour anytime soon.