There are countless reasons why I look forward to going to St. Stephen's Episcopal Day School every morning. Some include:
- Stepping onto a beautiful campus, maintained by our skilled maintenance crew
- Being surrounded by a sea of smiles
- Having dads & moms say, "Good morning, Mr. Jacomino!" (Usually pronounced in Spanish, Hac-o-meen-o)
- Witnessing our students run up to our beloved, new Chaplain for a high-five or a quick hug
- Hearing morning announcements and flag salute where children's voices are heard and parents are there to share
- Walking past the classrooms and catching glimpses of some of the finest and most engaging teaching by the amazing educators we have on staff
- Knowing that I have the most supportive and caring administration anyone could ask for
Those are just a few reasons.
Then, there are these three fine educators who I get to interact with more often than anyone else.
Nerissa, Jenny, and Inge make up the Innovation Team here on campus. They work closely with our 30 teachers and 300 students. Twice a week, we meet in my office to discuss all that's going on around our school. We make sure we've followed up on items from the last meeting, evaluate what's currently going on, and then plan, predict, and project into the future! There's never a dull moment, there's always a 'squirrel!' moment, and excitement is a constant. The enthusiasm that comes from these angelic EdTech facilitators is what I feel makes me the luckiest director of technology on the planet!
Just a little bit about each one:
Nerissa is new as an employee but not new to St. Stephen's. She is an alumna of our school and she loves being back, teaching alongside many teachers from her years here. She's passionate about education, equality, inclusivity, and works hard at making positive change every chance she gets. She works mostly with the preschool teachers and students but definitely makes an impact on all aspects of our life on campus. She is also a Miami Device Featured Speaker!
Jenny has been at St. Stephen's since 2004 and I'm convinced her middle name is Positivity! She always has a smile and a can-do attitude. We share our early-adopter excitement and love for new technologies. But just as with the rest of the team, Jenny understands the importance of sound pedagogy and making technology support the teaching only when it's appropriate. Maybe SAMR is her maiden name?
Inge was a classroom teacher when I first started at St. Stephen's 8 years ago (she had been here 4 years prior to that). She was engaging and passionate about teaching and she knew exactly when to leverage technology just at the right time and for the right purpose. I had to have her on my team so her superpowers could be shared school-wide and not just with one set of students. My supportive Head of School granted me that request and it's been an awesome ride! Last year, she was selected as a Teacher of the Future by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).
Most schools or districts have an IT admin and an EdTech director, my background in network engineering and music education puts me in the awesome position of merging the two roles into one. That allows me to work closely with my team on our EdTech vision and then rest assured they will carry it out like the rock stars that they are. I then get to keep up with the school's hardware/software needs, maintain a robust and safe network, keep our website up to date, work on Miami Device which has become a job in itself, support all administrative objectives, and carry out the many goals of our technology plan on a timely basis and, hopefully, within budget. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta love it!
I am beyond fortunate. While I hope I express it daily, I wanted to put it in writing and hence, this post. Nerissa, Jenny, & Inge, you ladies are the best and I look forward to a long, continued partnership with you!