Kennesaw State alumna tapped by Microsoft to help promote teaching with technology
KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 30, 2021) — Kennesaw State University double alumna Stephanee Stephens has dedicated her career to enhancing education through technology, and she now is accomplishing that as part of one of the world’s top technology companies.
As a modern workplace senior specialist with Microsoft, Stephens provides educational support to P-12 and higher education professionals throughout the southeastern United States. Stephens, who previously led the iTeach unit in KSU’s Bagwell College of Education, shows educators how to utilize Microsoft’s resources and technological tools to advance teaching and learning through innovative methods.
“I always will consider myself a teacher and, from a social impact perspective, I feel like I’m still doing that even though I’m not in a classroom every day,” said Stephens, whose two degrees from Kennesaw State include a doctorate in educational technology leadership. “I am able to help students gain access to tools that will change their learning game and make them even more marketable as a learner, as a person in a career, and as a member of society.”
In the eight months she has been with Microsoft, Stephens said that she has noticed her colleagues increasingly taking notice of Kennesaw State as a leader in teaching educators to empower learning with technology. Earlier this year, KSU elevated the instructional technology department in the Bagwell College to the School of Instructional Technology and Innovation.
“Changing instructional technology from a department to a school puts weight behind all the work that’s been done to pull together researchers, practitioners and coaches within the school to help teachers be the best they can be,” Stephens said. “I think Kennesaw State defines what a university should be in the modern era, by moving forward and continuing to grow rather than sitting still.”
Stephens speaks from her combined experiences as a Kennesaw State student, faculty member and iTeach director. She earned her first degree from KSU, a Master of Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, in 2009 while she was an instructional technology specialist with Fulton County Schools. She completed her Ed.D. in Instructional Technology from Kennesaw State last December, defending her dissertation on the same day she had her final interview with Microsoft.
Along with being a proud KSU alumna, Stephens considers her most rewarding professional accomplishment to be growing the iTeach unit in her five years as director. Stephens built a team of more than 60 educational technology specialists who provide technology-related professional learning, consulting and services to approximately 275 schools and/or districts in Georgia and other states.
“The iTeach unit will continue to thrive and move forward,” Stephens said. “That’s a credit to the team, not to me, but I’m so proud to have been a part of that.”
While Stephens downplays her own significance, a colleague and friend from the Bagwell College respectfully disagrees. Traci Redish, the director of the School of Instructional Technology and Innovation, hired Stephens as iTeach director and saw up-close the contributions she made not only to that specific unit, but also in developing instructional technology curriculum and being one of the leaders in elevating the department to a school.
“Stephanee is a very high achiever, innovator and advocate for learning with technology,” Redish said. “She is a leader in education and will continue to make a name for herself in the field.”
While Stephens has moved on to the career opportunity with Microsoft, she remains connected to Kennesaw State. Stephens continues to teach part-time, instructing graduate-level courses in the Bagwell College of Education’s Personalized Learning Endorsement program.
“I love teaching, and being able to remain faculty keeps me connected to the Bagwell College and to the University, to be able to contribute back in a meaningful way to those who also will have good experiences going through,” said Stephens. “I owe a lot to KSU, and it’s a place that always will feel like home to me.”
– Paul Floeckher
Photos by David Caselli
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.