Kerrville ISD has been more than a job to me. It is family. It is where I grew up more than I thought I would. I think we did a great job - all of us in a very short amount of time. I know that there will be a great replacement for my position and that the district will continue to do extraordinary things!
Best of Moment 1: Oh Christmas Tree!
Normally, we don't do anything with the leftover packing materials from all the computers we receive in district. But in 2008 and 2009, we decided to use these materials to create a Christmas theme in the office. We posed in front of this tree to make a holiday card to send to staff and in 2009, we used the pieces to make a snowman to share. I will definitely miss the office hijinks! In our field, humor is a key characteristic to success.
Best of Moment 2: Kitty Litter Cake
I knew better, of course, but since it was my first year I could plead ignorance. I dressed up for Halloween as Bubba and went to work with this awful cake served from a cat litter box (with scoop). I then went campus to campus to serve the secretaries and librarians a little piece of Bubba's cake. I had a good time doing it. I don't know if people were really into the cake I made.
My costume was based on the environment of the office. The panel siding inside gave me the feeling that I worked in a trailer. We had that taken care of when we had the office painted. Bubba loved this office at the time though.
This is the cake. It was actually pretty tasty but the melted Tootsie Rolls on top didn't make it look very tasty.
Best of Moment 3: Baby Deer Visit
One morning, I pulled up and found several staff hovering around an object in the front of our building. Two baby deer were abandoned by the tennis courts and momma deer was no where to be found. It was before kids would be trafficking through that area for school so we had to isolate these babies while waiting for animal control to arrive. I had to hide a baby deer in my office in a box without touching it in case momma deer arrived.
It was as if we had a mascot for the day!
Best of Moment 4: Librarians
When I first came on board in KISD, I knew I would not be able to do my job well unless I had a network of support. I have always had great relationships with librarians and I really value their abilities at campuses. Libraries to me are the central hub of every school. When people have questions, they ask librarians. Parents, teachers, principals, students, and anyone else who visits a campus will stop and talk to a librarian. They have to be on their toes to answer the gamut of questions.
KISD has tremendous librarians! I asked them if I could take charge of them after an administrator who was over them had left. After that point, I took care of them by plying them with the new technology first: laptops, iPads, SMART Boards, ceiling-mounted projectors, document cameras, etc. and even taking them to conferences (or meeting them there to take them to dinner).
I will miss these ladies and all the fun we had together! You better take care of them for me while I am gone, too.
Below are two pictures from our last meeting a few weeks ago for planning fall activities and idea sharing.
Best of Moment 5: Technology Upgrades
The ARRA Stimulus money came in 2009 and we spent most of it on instructional technology by putting SMART Boards in almost every classroom with a ceiling-mounted projector. As this project progressed, I would visit campuses to follow-through on the project management side of making sure it was going well. On occasion, I would find something like this abandoned in a hallway - a sure sign that things were changing for the teacher who put this out of its misery.
Best of Moment 6: Skyping Authors
One piece of technology I added to the Libraries was a webcam. I wasn't sure if it would take off or not but it really did. This is one entire grade level meeting a children's literature illustrator online to discuss art and graphic design. As the kids are interacting, Stella and I are trying to film them and take pictures.
It was such a cool moment!! Technology in action. These are the moments that make the day-to-day work so much more pleasurable!
Best of Moment 7: Office 2.0
In 2010, we were allowed to paint our office and get it to look a bit more professional. By changing the space up a bit, we made a conference room that other departments sometimes use because it is a lot more pleasant to be in. We had great help from the district Maintenance department to do all this and it really helped to organize our office space better.
Best of Moment 8: Wade Ivy gets a state award
The Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) is the state organization for educational technology. Each year, they offer a variety of awards where you can nominate people to win and be awarded during their annual TCEA conference each February. I could spend weeks nominating teachers, librarians, principals and administrators! That year, I nominated about 7 people for awards in Kerrville and in other districts where I have worked.
Wade Ivy at the time was principal of Nimitz Elementary. I wanted to nominate all the principals but I could only select one and he was really developing a vision with his blog and outreach tools on his website. I was really excited when he received his notification of being a finalist at the same time I was awarded a finalist as Technology Administrator of the year.
Being at the stage when his name was called was such a proud moment for me. He may have gotten the award but I feel I won that evening when Kerrville ISD was awarded the Technology Principal of the Year in Wade Ivy.
Best of Moment 9: Techpalooza 1 and 2.0
Techpalooza was the one day where I gave 100% from planning to deploying. At the time, I had visited a conference called SXSW in Austin and was reading a lot of books about social networking in real-time spaces. I basically wanted to create Facebook, Twitter, and a conference in real-time without using any technology to do so. Each day, I would take white paper and start writing out the things I could not stand about staff development and meetings. I used that to turn the environment into a non-staff development and non-meeting type space.
I wanted to make a real life collaboration document where people could experiment freely and share whether they were learning or vent frustrations. Techpalooza stemmed out of this and the first one was a complete experiment.
It was the absolute highlight of my career.
Best of Moment 10: Leaving Kerrville ISD
It is a best of moment and a worst of moment in one. I am really sad to be leaving this place. I have really enjoyed the work and the people I have had the pleasure of working with. Truly, this is the first time I have taken a job based mostly on social reasons. I haven't really been able to connect with a social group in a town like Kerrville. I have had a few friends come and go but most of my weekends are spent in Austin or in San Antonio. I really need a closer support group of friends and family available to me in Austin.
I have told other state technology directors to look into making KISD their home. I leave behind a great network of teachers, principals, counselors, secretaries, librarians, administrators, support staff and a community who are hungry for more technology. They are ready to go to the next level and they need help establishing their own vision. People in KISD are building their own ideas for what they want and they just need help putting it into practice. There is great community support for the schools and for the staff who make up the district.
I will really miss working with you all but I will keep my ears open for news of what is taking place there. I know I will hear great things!