Behind the Screens

In the spring of 2020, school technology departments were faced with unprecedented challenges as the coronavirus pandemic forced instruction to move to remote learning. In an effort to highlight the great work of the technology staff at schools around the state, we are excited to launch a new monthly series, Behind the Screens. Check back each month and follow along on social media to see who will be recognized next.

Margie Rutledge, Technology Coordinator from Jasper School District

photo of Margie Rutledge

Margie Rutledge is the technology coordinator for the Jasper School District. Prior to assuming this role, she served as the Jasper Schools Library Media Specialist. Her passion for her technology program is second to none. Due to the tireless efforts of Ms. Rutledge, JSD is now 1:1 on every campus, every classroom is equipped with Viewboards, we have a new phone/intercom system throughout the district, and we are constantly increasing bandwidth on all campuses. In addition to overseeing all things technology for three very logistically separate campuses in our district, Ms. Rutledge takes on many other responsibilities, including overseeing the district's crisis plan, security measures, and many other behind-the-scenes tasks. She conducts professional development for our staff on cybersecurity and other important topics. Ms. Rutledge networks with colleagues from around the state and works to stay current with the latest technology laws, threats, and updates. She is an invaluable part of our district team, and we appreciate all she does for the students and staff of JSD!

Submitted by the Jasper School District Superintendent, Ozarks Unlimited Resource Educational Service Cooperative

Vickie Newton, Technology Coordinator from Warren School District

photo of Vickie Newton

Vickie Newton has been the technology coordinator for the Warren School District for 15 years. Her dedication to the students and staff in the Warren School District is unprecedented. She has been instrumental in our district being one of the first districts in the state to transition to 1:1 devices. Mrs. Newton has worked diligently to ensure the district has increased our broadband allowing us to have sufficient internet at all campuses. She has high expectations for the technology department and demands that our students and staff have the best equipment available for their teaching and learning needs. Mrs. Newton also provides valuable professional development for staff and is readily available to assist when called upon. She is always trying to find ways for our technology department to better serve the students and staff. Additionally, she networks and collaborates with technology specialists at our local educational cooperative and around the state to ensure the best possible technology to enhance learning. Mrs. Newton is the definition of a team player and is always looking out for what is best for our students in the Warren School District. We are truly blessed to have Mrs. Newton as our technology coordinator.

Submitted by the Warren School District Superintendent, Southeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Darrell Parks II, Technology Coordinator from Hoxie Public Schools

photo of Darrell Parks II

Darrell Parks II, Technology Coordinator for Hoxie Public Schools, is a motivated technology innovator and advocate for Arkansas school district technology staff across our state. Darrell is the founder and director of the "Arkansas Conference of Technology" (ACOT) which is a state technology conference specifically for Arkansas school district technology staff. Darrell has single-handedly devoted his time and energy to setting up this conference every year since January 2016 even through this year's COVID-19 Pandemic which was virtual.

Darrell has been instrumental in the creation of the Free "Hoxie Online Academy" which is an accredited Public School online education option for grades K - 12 students and families that want a flexible and convenient online digital or blended education alternative.

Darrell is a member of the Bono, AR City Council.

Submitted by the Northeast Arkansas Education Cooperative

Brian Lowery and Chris Snyder, Technology Coordinators from McCrory School District

photos of Brian Lowery and Chris Snyder

These guys, Chris Snyder and Bryan Lowery, have done an amazing job for the McCrory School District. They manage our website, help with E-Rate, manage our network, our chromebooks, our hotspots, social media posts, and many, many other things.

They are a key part of our culture and systems here at the McCrory School District.

They do not accept barriers, they look for creative solutions. They do not get the acknowledgment that they deserve very often, preferring to take a back seat to our students and faculty. The truth is that we definitely could not have been as successful as we have been this year, if not for these two gentlemen.

Submitted by the McCrory School District Superintendent, Wilbur D. Mills Education Service Cooperative

Trent Deloach, Technology Coordinator from Junction City School District

photo of Trent Deloach

Trent has really worked hard to support his teachers and administrators by making helpful tutorials for his staff as well as working to make sure they have the equipment needed to deliver the best virtual instruction possible. He also has attended all of the Coop Tech meetings and is always willing to share ideas and information with other Tech staff as well as being active on SYS Admin. He does all of this as a one-man show at Junction City School District, which also has a Louisiana Charter. South Central Cooperative School Technology Coordinators as a whole are the best, but Trent has really shined during this pandemic.

Submitted by the South Central Service Cooperative

Nena Land, Technology Coordinator from DeQueen Public Schools

photo of Nena Land

DeQueen was in the process of building a new high school when COVID-19 hit. Nena and her tech team continued to work all summer and never quit. They have since wired and moved new labs into the new high school, moved all the equipment over from the old high school, installed a new ZSpace lab, and replaced all the teacher stations. She and her team put an entire Chromebook Fleet together and pushed out a 1:1 environment allowing high school and middle school students to take theirs home. They added new intercom systems to the new high school, middle school, and junior high. They are currently running cable to a remodeled wing of the old high school, and next on the list is running drops for computer and video equipment in the new broadcasting studio. Amidst all of this, Nena is always willing to help out other techs and shares valuable information gleaned from her experiences. When asked, Nena shares that she loves her job and that it's the people she works with who make her job worth coming back to every day: "I have a good crew and excellent people to work with and for." Nena's tech team includes Jay Carver, Network Administrator, and technology technicians Johntavious Baker and Gary Stewart.

Submitted by the DeQueen-Mena Education Service Cooperative