Alumni Profile: David Sander

Degree
Advanced Certificate, School Leadership and Technology ’18
Current Job
Director of Informational Technology, Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School

Taking Charge With Technology

David Sander was already teaching and serving as the technology coordinator in an elementary school when he got an email from a teacher center about furthering his education at NYIT. “I liked how the program tied the administration degree with technology,” he says. “The dual degree was the perfect program for me because my goal was to find an administrative position as an IT director.”

Soon after starting the school leadership and technology program in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Education, Sander became the director of information technology for a K-12 school and is now in charge of instructional technology in the Cobbleskill-Richmondville Central School District in Schoharie County, New York.

“There are days when I am focused on finding the best deals for equipment, others when I am in the field working on a teacher’s computer, and still others where I am in administration meetings discussing curriculum,” he says. “It is important to balance aspects of the job. In IT we always need to keep an eye on what is happening now while trying to plan for five years down the road.”

In addition to the valuable skills he learned through his studies, Sander says he also learned a lot just being a student again and seeing education from the other side. “As a teacher, I thought I knew a lot about the educational process. When I started taking courses and asking questions, I realized there was so much more that goes into educating students.”

Using technology in the classroom has evolved significantly in the last two decades and continues to change rapidly. Sander says being in class allowed him to see how important technology can be in enhancing a child’s education, particularly when it is implemented properly. “Being in an administrative position allows me to have a greater influence on the educational process. I am now able to be involved in decisions that can impact an entire district, which can then impact so many students in a positive way.”

Being in charge of technology for the whole district is a challenge that keeps Sander’s eye on the big picture. “We have four different buildings and I am in all four,” he says. “A principal is typically in charge of one building with one ecosystem. I get to see all four buildings and see how they all function differently.”

This, along with the ever-changing landscape and unpredictable nature of IT can make the job both challenging and interesting. “I still remember that in my interview the superintendent asked me to explain my daily schedule. I found this one of the most difficult questions because every day is different!” he says. “My plan for the day might be to work up quotes for a new camera system when the network goes down and I find myself in a network closet trying to find the cause.”

Sander says one of the biggest challenges facing the industry right now is funding. “Many times we need to get creative in the ways that we purchase technology equipment.” He says the rapidly changing world of IT can also cause some frustration among teachers. “When they find something that works and that they like, it can become a challenge when trying to create change.”

His job keeps him in front of a computer most days, so when he is not at work, Sander tries to abstain from technology. He is an avid hunter, fisher, and biker and coached varsity soccer and basketball for many years when he was a teacher. “I still coach my daughters’ youth teams,” he says. “I think there is always a time and place for technology but I always try to get my kids outside. I try to keep a nice balance of the outdoors and technology.”