Before I leave for my holiday, I thought I would share with you this bit of news, from July, for those of you who don’t know Alan Richards, Information Systems Manager at West Hatch High School or didnt know the great award he has achieved.

Alan writes regularly on his blog “Education Technology Now”, a fantastic read that I would recommend to everyone interested in technology.

On the page dated 1 July, the news that Alan’s been awarded the status of Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP).

It’s a distinction he’s rightly proud of. The MVP website page explains that MVPs are nominated by other technical community members who are in a position to see the qualities of their nominee. Nominations are rigorously scrutinised and there has to be evidence, over time, of excellent leadership as well as

“Willingness and ability to help others make the most of their Microsoft technology.”

It’s absolutely great that Alan, who clearly has quite enough to do in his own workplace, spends huge amounts of time and energy on sharing his expertise and experience with others. His blog is a mine of information, particularly on the technicalities of handling the latest software in a demanding school environment. And it doesn’t stop there of course, Alan’s equally generous with his time both formally in presentations and informally when you phone or email for help.

Becoming an MVP brings a free Live Meeting account, and it’s absolutely typical of Alan that he’s going to use his new account to help his fellow professionals. So he’s currently advertising a free SharePoint Webinar, where he’ll concentrate on his drive to cut costs across the school through using SharePoint 2010 related Microsoft products.

It’s good to see generosity and professionalism rewarded. As the saying goes, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.