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Plum School District chooses interim technology director

| Friday, May 9, 2014, 12:06 p.m.

Chris Burkey has done just about every job in the Plum School District technology department.

Burkey, 34, was hired six years ago and has moved up from a position on the help desk to recently being appointed interim director.

“I worked my way up as I pursued my education,” said Burkey, of Indiana, Pa.

“It became clear to me that I thoroughly enjoyed being part of a school-district technology team and that I would like to have a bigger hand in the research and development of new programs and services to help the department grow.”

The Plum School Board appointed Burkey, previously systems administrator in the district's technology department, to the director position on May 6.

Burkey's annual salary was $42,196, and his new salary is $62,000, retroactive to May 1.

Burkey replaces district technology director Chris Davis, whose last day is May 30.

Davis accepted a position as chief technology officer at the University of Central Arkansas.

Plum Superintendent Timothy Glasspool said the interim position is for six months or until Nov. 30, after which a decision on the permanent position is expected to be made.

Burkey said he is interested in the permanent position.

District officials did not consider outside candidates for the interim post.

“The consensus on the (school) board was to keep it (the hiring) in house,” said Joe Tommarello, the board's vice president.

Glasspool praised Burkey's work.

“We believe at this time the best decision was to remain with Chris Burkey,” Glasspool said. “He has been a loyal employee.”

Burkey said he looks forward to overseeing implementation of the district's new information system.

The Sapphire Systems Inc. software is intended to consolidate student data systems that have information on grades, student health, management of special-education students and discipline management into one centralized system.

Burkey plans to continue technology upgrades.

“I want to continue to build on my professional relationships within the district and to develop and roll out some hardware and equipment updates throughout the district,” Burkey said.

The board voted to create a technology-integrator position for the 2014-15 school year.

The duties include assisting teachers in the use of technology and creating resources including websites and tutorials for teachers, staff and students.

Glasspool said various factors were considered.

For one, the district's “Bring Your Own Device” policy has resulted in an additional 800 to 1,000 devices on the district's network each day, Davis has said.

“It has been a success,” Glasspool said.

The district's network supports more than 2,000 computers and 500 mobile devices, not counting students' own devices.

Glasspool said he is looking for a candidate with a background in education and would like the position filled before summer recess.

“I am looking for someone from the teaching ranks — a K-12 teacher to meld the skills abilities,” Glasspool said.

“I am looking for a technology mentor — someone who will work with the teachers, assist in the use of technology to its fullest capability, enhance instruction and engage students.”

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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