This is the place where I’m come clean…right? I’ve been in technology for over 20 years. I started my illustrious career in educational technology as a central office clerk for Marquardt School District 15; a middle school in the western suburbs of Illinois. (Did I mention that I’m sarcastic as well?) I was running a gas cooperative when I decided to automate the billing by using a Microsoft Access contact database to create the invoices. The following year, the district decided to hire a Technology Coordinator but they wanted a certified educator. (That should have been the writing on the wall for me!)
Since I just was discharged from the Marines, I decided to go back to college and get my degree. I received a degree in Criminal Justice / Computer Science from Northeastern Illinois University by attending classes at night and working during the day. However, that took me ten years to complete! The reason was that I was implementing bleeding edge technologies during the day while learning archaic technologies at night. (You’d think the brick would have hit me over the head that time as well!)
As I was pursuing my degree, I worked my way up the educational technology ladder. I left Marquardt to become a Technology Technician at Glenbrook North High School. That’s where I was introduced to Novell networking, graphics programs, and the likes! I knew I wanted to do more in technology however the director which I reported to had been there for 40 years and retirement was no where in sight! So, I decided to take on a K-12 district, North Chicago District 187, in northern Illinois.
I remember taking on that district very fondly. They had just hired a progressive superintendent who wanted to infuse technology into the curriculum. I know, it sounds passé however we’re talking 1995 here! I worked on writing grants, both state and federal, to secure funds to drive the technology infusion. We received approximately $800,000.00 in state and a 5 year / $5MM federal Challenge Grant. Through the state grants is where I funded my own technology certification, the Microsoft MCSE, on the NEW Windows NT 3.51! One big challenge was to cull an inventory of all the district’s assets. That was my first foray into Microsoft Systems Management Server 1.0. My technology fate was set ever since then…
My contract with North Chicago CUSD 187 was short lived due to still working on my degree in the evening and educators not happy that a technologist was making more than them. Thus, my contract renewed but I declined since it was such a minuscule amount. I saw my peers in the corporate sector making twice or three times as much as I was. Thus, I was lured to the “dark side” of corporate America!
I worked at several corporations architecting, designing and implementing Microsoft technologies. I finally came to the conclusion that I could either work for companies implementing the solutions or I could work for the company which created the solution. In 2005, I joined Microsoft as a “blue badge”. Since then, I’ve co-authored a book, designed a Solution Accelerator, upgraded MS certs, obtained ITIL certification, and won various awards for my crazy ideas. However, I never stopped having a passion for educational technology! So, in 2011, I joined the Microsoft Education Team to put my passion to work!
Being a life long learner, I started working on my MBA only to have the program change and go online! That wasn’t the reason I joined the program! I wanted to interact with my peers and learn from their business experiences. So, I now sit with half of my MBA completed and ponder about what the future holds… I think it’s time to go back and get a formal education IN education! Thus, my journey begins….again!