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Nan Williams

Executive Director, Arizona Technology in Education Association

Nan Williams, Executive Director, Arizona Technology in Education Association
Nan Williams has been the executive director for the Arizona Technology in Education Association (AzTEA) since January 2018. She is also the technology director for the Balsz School District in Phoenix, where she oversees an eight-person department that’s responsible for instructional technology, IT, cybersecurity and physical security. All told, she’s worked in various educational roles for 40 years, including past jobs as a classroom teacher and student teacher supervisor.

With AzTEA, Williams coordinates STEM education training and peer workshops where school CIOs, system engineers and network specialists learn from each other. She has also spearheaded town hall events that recognize individual school districts for their accomplishments related to classroom technology and school cybersecurity.

AzTEA enjoyed an eventful year in 2023, but Williams downplays that as a credit to her leadership and instead attributes it to the collaborative efforts of members and the Arizona Department of Education.

“It’s a very nice partnership,” she said. “Together, we are helping to show the post-pandemic relevance of ed tech. We always say, curriculum first, technology second.”

Williams said she’s especially excited about the year ahead. For starters, AzTEA is working with school districts across the state to develop an AI vision.

“But we are just boots on the ground,” she said. “We’re not the policy people.”

Williams’ organization is also working with Arizona community colleges to establish “Right to Repair” labs in K-12 districts, where students can access the equipment and instruction to fix their own devices.

“Collaboration is so important to bring these ideas to fruition,” she said. “It always feels like you are on your own island until you get to meet other people.”

This story originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of Government Technology magazine. Click here to view the full digital edition online.
Aaron Gifford has several years of professional writing experience, primarily with daily newspapers and specialty publications in upstate New York. He attended the University at Buffalo and is based in Cazenovia, NY.