Educational Trends Leadership

Member Spotlight on Mark Simmons

Twyla Felty
Written by Susan Meyer

This month’s member spotlight is on Sabine Pass Technology Director Mark Simmons. You’re definitely going to want to hear about the big things he’s up to!

TCEA has the privilege of knowing some pretty fantastic educators. Every month, we like to share a story about what one of our incredible members is up to. This time, we’re focusing on a technology director with big ideas: Mark Simmons. Read on to learn a little bit about Mark’s history, what makes him tick, and a big project he has in the works.

Mark Simmons

Photo of Mark Simmons by Miguel Guhlin

 

Teaching the Future

Mark is currently the Technology Director for Sabine Pass ISD. Before that, he worked for more than 20 years in the private sector as an IT professional. It was his kids who inspired him to get involved in education. He said they made him want to “share my experience and knowledge with the younger generation.”

These days, in addition to being a tech director, Mark teaches two classes on Cisco and Microsoft certification. When he isn’t working directly with his students, he is fielding requests from teachers, tackling paperwork, researching new technologies, or helping create technology-driven lessons.

When asked what he likes most about his job, for Mark it comes down to both a love of helping people and a love of innovation. “I love the support and freedom to try new ideas with both teachers and students. It’s satisfying to integrate technologies into the classroom and have those technologies disappear and become a seamless part of the lessons and projects.”

Tips and Advice from Mark

Mark has some great advice for new tech directors. He suggests: “Always begin and end your discussion with ‘How does it benefit the student?’ Treat your teachers and students as customers with customer service as your main priority. The rest will come naturally as all districts, as well as schools, each have their own unique environment.”

He always makes sure to use the resources at his disposal. “I take advantage of everything from TCEA. I not only use the collaborative website and email listserv, but I watch Lunch and Learns, attend conferences and academies, connect with other TCEA members, and if all else fails, I have the experts at TCEA on speed dial!”

Join Mark’s BIG Idea

When we say that Mark has big ideas, we mean it. His latest initiative won’t fit through the door of most classrooms. Intrigued? Here’s a little about the project in Mark’s own words:

“I have recently started a collaborative 3D printing project, asking any schools with 3D printers to join in a life-size RC car build. This audacious goal is an attempt to build an open RC car the size of a real car. Our school will be providing all the electronics, and I have interest from two companies that will help out with the filament and professionally painting the model. Our goal is to create something we can tour around to raise interest in and funding for STEM-related projects and equipment for schools.”

You can read more about Mark’s big idea here. And if you’re interested in being one of the schools to join in this exciting project, you can apply here.

We hope you enjoyed this look into the professional life of one of our wonderful members. To learn about other innovative educators transforming education, you can read some of our previous member spotlight posts here,  here, and hereDo you know a TCEA member who needs to be in the spotlight? You can always email me your suggestions at [email protected].

 

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About the author

Susan Meyer

Susan Meyer is the Communications Specialist at TCEA. She is the editor of TCEA’s quarterly print and digital magazine TechEdge and is a contributing writer for the TechNotes blog. Her background is in educational publishing, and, prior to working with tcea, she spent the last eight years editing and producing content for digital, educational products. Meyer is the author of over 20 books targeted for grades 5-12 on topics ranging from developing an online brand identity to creating collaborative learning experiences with digital tools.

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