Twenty years ago, I attended my first CUE conference – I had only attended two local affiliate events prior to that conference, so the scale and grandeur of the Palm Springs Conference was mind-blowing. CUE’s growth since then has been astonishing, and I’ve been honored to be a part of the learning of thousands of fellow educators through our collaborative work.
As difficult as it is to do, I’m stepping down as CUE’s CEO on August 31. It’s been a tremendous thirteen-year journey, during which we have built the organization from one serving 2,500 educators to one that serves nearly 30,000. We have grown from one event per year to more than 200 in 2016-2017. We have learned together, laughed together, cried together, and succeeded together. We’ve improved student lives by making their education more relevant to the lives they will lead beyond school, university, and work. I have learned alongside you, grown alongside you, and am immensely proud of what we’ve built together.
I’m now at a point where new adventures await. New challenges are set before me, and I look forward to taking them on. Organizations grow and change, and CUE will benefit from the new insights and expertise of its next chief executive.
#BecauseofCUE, I learned how to implement the first Digital High School grant in my district. I was a classroom teacher whose world expanded through the network that is CUE. I made connections that are still influencing my learning and my career to this day. My career trajectory was forever altered when the CUE Board of Directors selected me to become Executive Director in 2004 and CUE’s first CEO ten years later. #BecauseofCUE, I was invited to represent the United States at a UNESCO meeting in Beijing; I took meetings at the White House and perhaps best of all, on a day-to-day basis got to work with, engage and collaborate with the most amazing educators,
storytellers, dreamers, and even a few childhood heroes. #BecauseofCUE and its extraordinary staff, my entire family (including my bewildered parents!) were in the room when I received my CUE Gold Disk in 2010!
I have been truly blessed by all that CUE and its community of innovators have given me during the 20 years I’ve been involved. It has been an absolute gift to me. As I take a step away, I do so knowing that it will continue to grow and thrive in the years and decades to come.
Speaking of decades, as CUE celebrates its 40th Anniversary in 2018, join in the celebration by sharing how your professional life has been positively impacted #BecauseofCUE. We are seeking stories to share at our National Conference in Palm Springs, March 14-17, 2018. Please take a moment and join me in reflecting on what CUE has meant to your professional life and share these stories out on social and traditional media using the hashtag #BecauseofCUE.
Mike Lawrence is CUE’s Chief Executive Officer. An educator for over 25 years, he worked as a teacher, administrator, and professional developer prior to starting at CUE in 2005. He received the CUE Gold Disk in 2010 and recently served two terms on the ISTE Board of Directors. He is the Director of the California Student Media Festival, was named one of NSBA’s “20 to Watch in Educational Technology” in 2012, and received ISTE’s Making IT Happen Award in 2013. | firstname.lastname@example.org @