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River Valley School District Superintendent, Mr. Philip Martell, Honored with Innovation in Education Award


The River Valley School District is proud to announce that Superintendent Mr. Philip Martell has been awarded the prestigious Innovation in Education Award from the Pittsburgh Technology Council for his outstanding contributions to the field of Education.             

This award was presented on Sunday, January 14, 2024, at the Robotics Factory in Pittsburgh and recognizes Mr. Martell’s unwavering commitment to educational excellence and innovation in the region. The Pittsburgh Technology Council sponsors the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference (TRETC), which will take place this year at South Fayette High School on Monday, January 15, 2024.

Mr. Martell was selected for this esteemed award based on his exceptional achievements in various areas of education, aligning with this year's theme, "Transformative EdTECH: Revolutionizing Learning and Work." Under Mr. Martell’s leadership, the River Valley School District has undergone a remarkable transformation and is committed to creating a future-driven school district focusing on innovation, career exploration across all grades, and workforce development.  Mr. Martell successfully opened the River Valley STEAM Academy, which advances career-driven learning opportunities for high-priority, in-demand careers in Biomedical Technology, Cybersecurity, Electrical Occupations and Powerline, Esports, Pathways to Health Professions, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitative Therapy, Rising Educators, and Welding Technology. Automation Engineering will be the newest addition to the STEAM Academy in the 2024-2025 school year, helping to meet the growing demand for skilled workers in manufacturing, engineering, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Superintendent Martell has been instrumental in successful collaborations across the region, including South Allegheny and Monessen City School Districts. These partnerships have not only enhanced the professional development of instructors but have also provided students with access to cutting-edge curricula that otherwise may not have been available. Notable collaborations with South Allegheny and Monessen City School Districts brought the River Valley STEAM Academy Cybersecurity curriculum to students throughout the region, generating valuable opportunities. “Mr. Martell is blessed with the ability to think outside of the box and create future-driven pathways that benefit kids' futures. Many times in education, new initiatives take time. Mr. Martell operates at a pace that is best for kids, not politics, and produces immediate results and change. His leadership greatly impacts students' ability to be successful in the global economy,” said David McDonald, Superintendent of South Allegheny School District. 

“For the past year, I've had a chance to work with Phil Martell. I've been impressed by his leadership not just for River Valley, but as a regional and national leader. In the past year, he's presented at TRETC, as well as national conferences, and has been invited to the White House twice. He and his team have been part of a Community of Practice of Exemplary Rural Districts with the Department of Education.  He's worked to create a regional alliance of rural school districts around cybersecurity and STEAM learning. That's just in one year,” said Norton Gusky, founder of the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference.

Dr. Robert Motte, Superintendent of the Monessen City School District, remarked, “Mr. Martell is an inspiring and visionary leader who empowers and motivates his team to reach higher levels of performance and exceed their own expectations. Mr. Martell is the type of leader who fosters innovation, encourages creativity, and promotes a positive organizational culture by challenging the status quo and inspiring a shared vision for the future. Through charisma, passion, and a commitment to personal and professional development, Mr. Martell not only achieves organizational goals but also transforms individuals, instilling a sense of purpose and enthusiasm that goes beyond their immediate tasks. The Monessen City School District is excited to be collaborating with Mr. Martell and the River Valley School District!”

The Innovation in Education Award acknowledges Mr. Martell’s outstanding dedication and visionary leadership, which will have a lasting impact on students and educators alike. His visionary approach has consistently pushed the boundaries of traditional public education, leading the way toward a future-driven school district equipped with the latest technologies to prepare learners for ever-evolving, highly technical industries and workforce development.