Thoughts on the New Gig

It's been nearly two weeks now since I began my adventures with the Canyons School District. Here's my take on the whole deal:

  • The enthusiasm and energy and excitement for the positive and potential changes that can and have taken place is absolutely electric. Palpable. Contagious. Amazing.
  • Dr. Doty, the Canyons District Superintendent, is very sharp. I don't say that to suck up, but absolutely believe that he is the perfect person for the job. I continue to be impressed by his vision and attitude toward education and the people that make it all happen.
  • I couldn't be happier with my current position and the team with whom I am privileged to work. I am truly humbled by the trust that I've been given and absolutely amazed at the knowledge possessed by those with whom I'm able to rub shoulders every day.
  • Hiring people is an extremely daunting task. As I've sat in on several job interviews now, I'm touched by the enormity of the task. As people apply for these positions, they enter the interview uncertain of their future, nervous, and vulnerable. Trust me, I know, because I was just in their shoes. And while my heart goes out to every applicant, I'm often saddened by the fact that we must sometimes limit our selection to only one. Incredibly difficult, to say the least.
  • Scooters are fun to ride, even when wearing a tie. (They've become the preferred mode of transportation throughout our old-school-converted-into-a-district-office-that-definitely-doesn't-feel-like-a-district-office-and-that's-definitely-a-very-good-thing.)
  • I'm excited to continue the welcoming process. In our department last week, we have had the privilege of welcoming aboard two excellent part-time techs and the very capable Director of Technology Deployment. In the very near future, we will continue to advertise additional positions. To give you an idea of what we're in for, the skeleton of our technology department is pictured below. My team is on the right, with Technical Support personnel under me largely being housed in the schools, and the Help Desk and Educational Technology teams working district-wide. Many, if not all of the Team Lead positions pictured here will most likely be opening next week (check here often if you're interested in applying, as positions are typically open for only five days).
  • Eventually coming down the pike will be a number of other positions, whose fate will largely be determined by the hit we will be forced to take due to impending state-wide budget cuts. Among the positions that I hope to eventually hire are Educational Technology Specialists (Teaching & Learning Resource Specialists?), Media Technology Specialists, Help Desk personnel, Technical Support personnel, and maybe even a Social Media Specialist.
When all is said and done, I'm extremely happy with the decision I have made to continue my career in the Canyons District and look forward bright and exciting future.

Thanks and Lessons Learned

First and foremost, thank you – all of you – for your endorsement and kind words of encouragement in light of the professional changes I am currently experiencing. Tomorrow will be my first day with the Canyons District and I am both humbled and buoyed by the support I have been given.

Second, I had the opportunity to read another must-read book over the weekend. Roland S. Barth’s Lessons Learned (2003) is outstanding. While it may sound cliché, I feel like this book has been written for me because the timing of the reading and the topic and advice given make it feel like the stars have aligned in such a way that I’m left to exclaim, “Wow!” I devoured the book in two settings and have greatly appreciated Barth’s outlook on life and his amazing ability to apply his experiences in sailing with the workplace (and educational) environment.

In my initial thumbing through of the book, a paragraph caught my eye and has since stuck with me profoundly. Barth credits Edna St. Vincent Millay with this quote:

A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down. If it is a good book, nothing can hurt him. If it is a bad book, nothing can help him. (p. 107)
Having participated in various social media arenas throughout the last several years (blogging, social networking, and the like), I’m convinced that this quote applies to online publishing as well as print. With that in mind, I’m even further assured at how vital it is for us, as educators, to teach our students today to properly utilize the technologies they so innocently (at least initially) take for granted.

  • Barth, R. (2003). Lessons Learned. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.


I turned this letter in to my supervisor today.

February 4, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

In my ten years with the Jordan School District, I have learned a tremendous amount from the wonderful people with whom I’ve been able to associate. It has truly been an honor and a pleasure.

Therefore, it is with humility and thankfulness for all of the opportunities and trust that I’ve been thus far given that I must now announce my intent to resign from the Jordan School District in order to pursue employment with the Canyons School District as their Director of Technology Services. To say that my emotions about this transition are mixed would be an understatement but as we move forward in the coming months, I sincerely hope that ours will continue to be a working relationship – dedicated to improving the learning experience of the students we serve.


Darren Draper
Huge opportunity for me and my family. Huge opportunity for me to promote positive change. And a huge opportunity for us as leaders of this newly forming district to create an organization that can best address the needs of our students today.

I guess this means I'll have to update my blog's sidebar. :)

Taking Your Network With You

Building on and in response to Steve Hargadon's CNN-Facebook Mashup: We Should Be Able to Do the Same Thing:

  1. There is definite value in being able to take your network with you. Why else do you think our kids cling so desperately to their cellphones?
  2. The power of embedding is absolutely amazing.
In order to create a publicly accessible/shared page that can be used to discuss any streamed content or event, I've used Pageflakes' Pagecast feature and two Anything Flakes. In one flake goes the streamed content. In the other goes an iframe with the web-based Twitter client of your choice. For my example, I've used Twitter's mobile client. I like it because it's very clean but wish that it included avatars with each tweet.

Check out the Pagecast here ( and let me know what you think. Or more importantly:
  • How do you think a page like this could change the way we experience conferences?

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