Superintendent Dance with students, photo courtesy BCPS/Twitter

S. Dallas Dance is due to appear at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. tonight to receive an award at a presidential inaugural ball, though it won’t be one of the ones commanding the presence of our new president.

The National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training, a nonprofit that promotes using technology to improve schooling and training methods around the country, is holding its inaugural ball at the library near Capitol Hill amid all of the other celebrations (and protests) happening around the city.

The NCTET Dance is honoring Dance and three others the “Community Builder” award for leading Baltimore County schools’ Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (STAT) and Passport initiatives, according to a release from Baltimore County Public Schools. STAT uses technology to personalize learning for students while Passport introduces them to world languages starting in the fourth grade.

“Right from the beginning, from many voices, I heard a clear consensus,” Dance said in a statement. “Our families and staff spoke about tangible differences – differences in hardware, software, and connectivity that some schools had and others lacked. Behind these concerns, right below the surface, was a less tangible goal: Better opportunity. The kind of opportunity that our country was founded upon.”

Dance will be in good company. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, ex-Federal Communications Commission chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and STEM education-focused nonprofit director Vince Bertram are receiving the same award. Apple’s senior manager of its global education advocacy division will also be honored with a different award.

Donald Trump won’t be attending this inaugural ball devoted to educational technology pioneers. He and Mike Pence will be instead be with their wives at two “Liberty and Freedom” balls at D.C.’s Convention Center and the “Salute To Our Armed Services Ball” at the National Building Museum.

Dance caused a stir right after Donald Trump’s election by retweeting former Montgomery County Public Schools superintendent Joshua Starr’s tweet that said educators must show they can protect minority and disabled students in a Trump-led country. Many criticized Dance for the retweet, and some even called for him to resign.

The inaugural ball he’s attending is separate from the three where Trump will appear, though they are close by.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...