Meet the DJ-turned-educator who won North Carolina’s top tech honor

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Dr. Melanie Honeycutt, Chief Information Officer at Burke County Public Schools (BCPS), has been awarded the title of 2024 North Carolina Technology Director of the Year.

The award was presented at the North Carolina Technology in Education Society (NCTIES) conference held in Raleigh in March. Dr. Honeycutt has been an educator for over three decades and has held her current role at BCPS since 2013, but here’s some more information about the award-winner.

Photo courtesy of Burke County Public Schools via Facebook.

Dr. Honeycutt’s mark on BCPS

During her tenure at BCPS, Dr. Honeycutt has overseen significant advancements in educational technology and cybersecurity within the district.

“North Carolina’s technology directors are absolutely critical for the success of our students and teachers in schools across the state, and Dr. Honeycutt is a prime example of how hard work and an innovative approach to technology in education can have a positive impact on an entire community,” commented Vanessa Wrenn, Chief Information Officer of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

In 2020, Honeycutt successfully navigated the rapid transition to a one-to-one device program due to the pandemic and led a swift response to a ransomware attack, securing and restoring the district’s systems and enhancing cybersecurity measures. “Dr. Honeycutt is all-in to ensure BCPS students and staff have the technical equipment, infrastructure, and resources they need to excel,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. Mike Swan.

While accepting the award, Dr Honeycutt told the crowd, “I am deeply inspired by the role Digital Teaching and Learning plays in education because it personalizes learning experiences and levels the playing field for both students and teachers. It opens doors to innovation and creativity, allowing both educators and learners to explore new possibilities together. It fosters collaboration across borders and socio-economics. Most importantly, it prepares the ground for nurturing the next generation of great minds—like Albert Einstein, Katherine Johnson, John Glenn, and Andrew Ng—by equipping them with the tools to discover, innovate, and lead. My passion lies in harnessing this potential to shape a brighter, more equitable future for all learners.”

Photo courtesy of Burke County Public Schools via Facebook.

Her unusual journey to education

Dr. Honeycutt has been working in the education field for 32 years, but that wasn’t always her vocational path.

Before embarking on her education career — which has involved being a media coordinator, district instructional technology media facilitator, and NCDPI consultant for digital teaching and learning, per her LinkedIn — Dr. Honeycutt worked as a disc jockey and on movie sets.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Western Carolina University and a master’s degree in library science and a doctorate in educational leadership from Appalachian State University.

Photo courtesy of Burke County Public Schools via Facebook.

Who else was nominated?

Dr. Honeycutt was one of eight technology directors nominated for the prestigious award by their peers. The other regional finalists included:

  • Sandra Reynolds from Currituck County Schools
  • Mike McKay from Carteret County Public Schools
  • Debby Atwater from Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
  • Belva Lovitt from Sampson County Schools
  • Shenna Creech from Randolph County Schools
  • Jay Parker from Union County Public Schools
  • Chris Whitlock from Transylvania County Schools

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