During the past three years, addressing inadequate technology infrastructure has been a major effort in Brookfield-LaGrange Park Elementary School District 95. But, beginning in 2017-18 the school district is shifting its focus toward how that technology complements instruction, and that’s led to a change in staffing.
On June 8, the school board voted unanimously to hire Amanda Pelsor as District 95’s instructional technology coordinator, a new position created upon the recommendation of Superintendent Mark Kuzniewski earlier this year.
Rob Bowe, who has served as director of technology for the past three years, will be leaving the district when the fiscal year ends June 30, said Kuzniewski, who had nothing but praise for Bowe.
“He was mission-critical for three years,” said Kuzniewski, who credited Bowe with overhauling the school district’s computer networks and servers, implementing an online held desk to address technological problems, implementing the technology needed for the new PARCC standardized testing and improving the district’s wireless connectivity.
“From an infrastructure standpoint we’re in a solid place,” Kuzniewski said. “But we have nothing on the instructional technology side.”
Pelsor comes to District 95 from Community Consolidated School District 62 in Des Plaines, where she has worked as the district’s “innovation advocate” for the past two years.
As self-professed “tech geek” Pelsor was responsible for district-level technology initiative planning, with a focus on how technology can be incorporated into instruction. She also created an online professional development platform in Des Plaines.
In District 95, Pelsor will wear a few different hats, said Kuzniewski. She’ll serve as an administrator, providing the expertise and vision in how to incorporate technology into instruction using best practices.
She will also work directly with teachers, modeling with them on how to use technology and providing ongoing professional development.
Pelsor will oversee managerial functions such as budgeting and ordering and inventorying devices.
“She has a vision of what instruction should look like in a 21st-century learning environment,” Kuzniewski said.
In addition to hiring Pelsor, the school board is also looking to hire a technology instructional coach who will work in tandem with her. The instructional coach will work daily in classrooms, helping teachers implement the use of technology.
Kuzniewski said the district has an offer on the table to a candidate for that job, but is waiting on her decision. The candidate, said Kuzniewski, is a Chicago Public Schools veteran, who has a second offer to weigh.
Both Pelsor and the instructional coach will report directly to Cathy Cannon, the district’s director of teaching and learning.
Meanwhile, Kuzniewski will take on management of the district’s network administrator and technology technician, both of whom will remain on staff to handle day-to-day back-end computer issues.
Pelsor’s starting salary is $60,000, said Kuzniewski. She made $84,640 during the 2016-17 school year in Des Plaines. Bowe’s salary for the 2016-17 school year was $72,000.
Prior to working in Des Plaines, Pelsor spent three years as an instructional technology coach at Park Ridge District 64 and a year as a technology specialist in Westchester School District 92.5.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Iowa and has a master’s degree in education from National Louis University.