Adam Watson's Bio

Phone: 502-633-2375


Degrees and Certifications:

NBCT in AYA English Language Arts, 2013 MAT in Secondary Education (concentration in English), University of Louisville, 2007 BA in English, University of Louisville, 2005 (Magna Cum Laude)

Mr. Adam Watson (he/him) . . .

. . . is the Digital Learning Coordinator for Shelby County Public Schools.  He came to Shelby County in 2014, hired as the district's first Technology Integration Coach.  Mr. Watson continues to oversee the education technology professional development of staff and management of various digital platforms while working with the district's IT department, ensuring clear communication and teamwork between academic and infrastructural needs.  He believes that technology is an essential tool for student learning -- but still a tool that should only be used with the "why?" in mind: to achieve an academic goal.

Adam's Edtech Elixirs blog and his YouTube channel have extended his impact beyond Shelby County and the state of Kentucky: both platforms combined currently have close to 400,000 views.

Mr. Watson began his education journey as a high school teacher in 2005. In his first year, he taught English and Drama at Bullitt Central High School. From 2006 to 2014, he was a teacher at South Oldham High School, where he taught English, AP Literature and Composition, Drama, Myths and Legends, and a film studies class; he was voted Teacher of the Year in 2009. In 2013, Mr. Watson became a National Board Certified Teacher in AYA Secondary English.

Adam's educational accomplishments, particularly in technology, have earned him various accolades, such as the cover story of Kentucky Teacher (April 2009), an article in The Courier-Journal (January 21, 2009), a mention in NCTE's international newsletter INBOX (February 2009), a feature story for an August 29, 2013 "School Smarts" segment of WDRB-TV (video and text), and the first interview subject for a series on national edtech leaders (Peergrade, June 2017). He has written for NCTE's Classroom Notes Plus (October 2010), the British user-created book profile website Book Drum (in June 2011; now shuttered), and for Classcraft's game-based education blog (January 2017). In October 2020, Aurora Institute republished a series of his blog entries on standards-based grading.

In 2011, Adam founded and co-led the teacher-centered edtech support community for his previous district, the Oldham County Technology Initiative, or OCTI. A grant in 2013 allowed him to purchase class sets of New York Times best selling author Ian Doescher's William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope; Mr. Watson created and implemented a freshmen English unit based on the book in April 2014. The Core Content-aligned unit culminated in students engaging in a Skype interview with the author. He eventually shared the unit materials online and it soon went viral, culminating in an appearance in Star Wars Insider (April 2015).

Adam is a leader of professional development sessions on edtech and teaching strategies.  He has presented at both international and regional events and institutions, such as iNACOL/Aurora Institute, KySTE, Remote K12, EdCampKY, KET Multimedia PD Day, IFL (Fayette County), Tech Teach Learn, KLA/KSMA, OVEC, KASA, KDE conferences (such as Persistence to Graduation and Learning from Kentucky's Classrooms), University of Louisville, and JCPS's Deeper Learning Symposium.  In July 2016, he worked with Heather Staker to facilitate a regional PD on blended learning.  Adam has also guested on several podcasts, including TheatreCast (November 2015), Partial Credit Podcast (February 2020), and Dr. Troy Hicks's Writing Matters (August 2020).

Adam created and launched the district's annual Share Fair (#SCShareFair), an opportunity for Shelby staff to be leaders and present how a digital tool or competency-based education structure or strategy has positively impacted their classrooms.  Since its first inception in 2015, it has grown to be as popular for visitors outside the district as it is for Shelby educators.  In May 2017, the Share Fair was prominently featured in KSBA's Kentucky School Advocate magazine in two articles (here and here).  Adam also created and adapted a digital citizenship curriculum for Shelby, consisting of 65 unique lessons spiraling through five focus strands every year K-12.  This work was recognized in an ISTE-published book: The Digital Citizenship Handbook for School Leaders (2019) by Mike Ribble and Marty Park. 

As a recognition of his educational technology leadership, Adam was awarded the KySTE Outstanding Leader of the Year in 2019.

In addition to his educational work, Adam is also a writer of poetry and short stories who has also written, produced and directed stageplays and radio dramas.

Be sure to follow Adam's blog's hashtag #edtechelixirs as well as the district's hashtag #IL3.