With assessment and instruction moving increasingly online, S. Tom Kambouras is responsible for making sure the New York City Department of Education has the bandwidth and infrastructure to meet those needs. In other words, he gives educators peace of mind so they can use the tools they need to do their job more effectively.
That has meant changing the technology department from a reactive to a proactive organization. Under Kambouras’ guidance and nine years of stewardship, the department has improved interconnectivity monitoring on the department’s network of 1,300 school buildings that serve 1.1 million students. “Sometimes we know a problem before the school knows about it,” he said. “So the downtime is minimal.”
Kambouras believes technology leaders should be involved in the planning stages of digital initiatives rather than after the fact and asks that his office staff be able to participate during those stages. He has also negotiated better pricing for the district’s software purchases. “We like to be contributors, collaborators and partners,” he said. “That vision needs to be a partnership, facilitated and planned with our partners, and IT should be a partner at the table.”
It’s just as important to ensure that technology is ready to go in the classroom. It has to be easy, quick to use and dependable. “Teachers have to have confidence in the product we provide, from devices to interconnectivity.” — Jennifer Snelling