SelfieI won an award yesterday and when I took to the stage to accept it, I turned my back to the crowd and took the”selfie” to the left.

The award is serious.   I was not.  Well…kind of.  Perhaps Dean Shareski has finally rubbed off on me.  At last year’s ISTE he appropriately pushed back and reminded me that it’s okay to have fun, that not everything has to be serious, that there was value in seeking joy.  His post, Why Joy Matters, is one that should be read regularly (Here’s Dean’s Tedx Talk on the topic).  So, yeah, I wanted to have a bit of fun.  It may have been interpreted as obnoxious, but I hope not.  That is not me, and that was not my intent.  To provide more context, here’s the beginning of my 2 minute “Thank You” speech:

Thank you, Pam and thank you to the NHISTE awards committee.


Some of you may know that I am one of the photographers for McAulliffe this year.  I hope you don’t mind if I take the opportunity to fulfill that duty for a moment.


So, I need everyone to sit up straight and look this way.


[Turn back to audience and take "selfie"]


You know, recently Oxford announced that “selfie” was the word of the year, thankfully beating out “twerking” much to chagrin of Miley Cirus.


But the idea of taking a “selfie” is really important in our society today because whether you are taking a selfie with the Pope, with friends, with colleagues, or here in front of this audience it gives us the opportunity to capture context as it is happening and immortalize it forever.  I know that if I had taken selfies over the past 17 years, I would have captured the many exceptional people I have been honored to work with along the way, because while I have never considered myself a technology leader, I have always considered myself an educator who has leveraged technologies, most recently and importantly to connect with and build meaningful relationships with a network of people in whom I have come to depend upon.

So, yeah, I took an “award winning” selfie, just before the Keynote speaker for the day, Jamie Casap took that same stage.  But I took the selfie as was a way to begin thanking those who would have been in my selfies if I had been taking them over the past 17 years, which is why winning this award was so meaningful to me.  Winning gave me the chance to thank Steve, Rachel and Jess for reminding me how hard it is to teach like you are living on the edge of tomorrow.  It allowed me to express gratitude to Andy, who allowed me to be the guinea pig for all new technologies in the school back in my teaching days.  I was able to thank the administrative team at VLACS, who reminds me that doing groundbreaking work is hard, and our CEO Steve, for being nothing short of a world-class leader.  I had the opportunity to thank my beautiful wife Kelli, who 24 years ago attended the prom with a dorky high school kid in a white tux, in the very same hall where that (still) dorky (now) man just took a freakin’ selfie on stage. I got to thank my sister and dad who were sitting in the front row and my mother who is no longer with us, but would have been very proud of her youngest, which made her youngest very happy.

And then later in the day Jamie Casap, the keynote speaker for the day, tweeted this:

So, yeah I took an “Award Winning” Selfie.  If that started a trend and it reminds folks that this is all supposed to be fun and we need to take time to humbly offer our thanks, then maybe being a dork for 10 seconds was okay.


  1. Hey Pal,

    First, here’s to hoping you are well! It’s been awhile since we’ve crossed paths. I was going to talk smack when the Canes played the Bruins a few weeks back, but then you killed us.


    Second, I love this piece. The notion of thinking about all of those people who would have been in your selfies over the years really resonates with me. So much of my success in life is owed to people who have thought alongside me at critical moments in my own growth — and yet I have no real record of those moments.

    Records of moments are easy to create in today’s world. We just need to take advantage of the tools and recognize the power of remembering where we’ve been — and who has helped us to get to where we are.

    Thanks for the reminder….

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