My Journey to Education

Fall 1999

What a surprise to find myself on the path to become a technology educator. After graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in Economics, I imagined I would be working for Corporate America until I retired. As a Financial Analyst and a Database Administrator, I learned a great deal about business, technology and working as part of a team in a corporate environment. During that time, I became knowledgeable about technology, from basic troubleshooting to informal tutoring of colleagues and friends. As my career progressed, I began to offer informal computer training to employees in our department. I eventually ended up being the person that coworkers would call on for help and support. I then began to steer my career goals in the direction of technical support and education in the workplace.

The most appealing aspect of technology was in technical training and tutoring. The event that triggered this was a call from my 83-year-old grandfather. He was the treasurer for a non-profit organization. For years, he would do all of the financial reporting and accounting by hand using an old crank-adding machine. He asked me to train him to use the computer to help him do his job faster. We then began the process of automating his finances by purchasing a computer and the necessary software. Over the next month, I tutored my grandfather to effectively use the computer to minimize the amount of time it took to complete his work. He was so proud that he could successfully work the computer and I felt exhilarated! I had successfully trained someone that had never used a computer before and now I had a feeling of professional satisfaction that I knew every teacher must feel when a student learns something new.

In 1996, my wife Sheryl and I decided to move from Texas to Oregon. We had always wanted to live in a small rural community in the mountains. Oakridge has afforded us that dream. Sheryl, who taught kindergarten for 6 years in Austin, is in her second year of teaching first and second grade at Oakridge Elementary School. Sheryl and I have both had successful professional transitions into a rural community. As the Executive Director of the Oakridge/Westfir Chamber of Commerce in 1997, I grew professionally and became involved in the community. I enjoyed working with local business owners to promote economic development in our rural area. This position reinforced the importance of developing strong partnerships and teamwork and allowed me to network within the community. Our local non-profit Internet provider (EFN) requested that I be available as a volunteer and consultant to assist new users with connecting to their service. I further developed my technical tutoring skills and enjoyed working with people in our community.

In addition to private tutoring, I began teaching technology classes at Lane Community College located in Oakridge High School. Classes taught included Excel, PowerPoint, Internet and Microsoft Office and were attended by high-school students, business owners and senior citizens. In the fall of 1999, the Oakridge School District hired me as the Technology Coordinator. In addition to maintaining the computers of the district, I worked with students interested in learning more about computer technology. Working with high school students as a mentor has further reinforced my belief that teaching is the right career path for me. My supervisor, the Superintendent, seems to agree. With a transitional license granted to me by TSPC, the district has hired me to be the Media Specialist/Technology Coordinator beginning in the Fall of 1999. I will also be teaching computer technology classes in the middle school. I look forward to expanding my teaching schedule upon completion of a certified teaching program.

Providing Technology and Internet education is a high priority for the Oakridge School District and the community as a whole. I feel fortunate to have a supportive school district and the Oregon State University distance learning program to assist with my goals of becoming a media and technology educator.