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BANNER, December 2015: Technology specialist joins the community

Dan Riles is new to the Brookwood community this year and joins the Technology Department as the Technology Integration, Computer Support Specialist. Although he grew up and went to college being certain he would be an archaeologist, his path changed when he realized he didn’t want to be in college level academia and wanted to work with a different age group in education. He switched his focus, working toward his education certification. Soon he was teaching in the Philadelphia schools and has been in education ever since.

We asked Dan a few questions and learned about his story as he becomes a part of the school community.

How long have you been in education? What grades have you taught?
I started my career in the Philadelphia Public School system where I taught first, second, fourth and sixth grades over the course of two years in three different buildings. I took a two-year break after that and moved to St. Louis where I worked at one school for seven years teaching fourth grade. When I moved to Boston, I taught a combined fifth and sixth grade class for six years before moving to a technology specialist role in a school in Hingham and did similar work at a school in the Back Bay before taking the job at Brookwood. This is my 21st year as an educator.

Why did you make the switch to being a technology educator? 
I started in education and during my two year hiatus (after Philadelphia) had the opportunity to work with a friend in his tech consulting company. I have always been that teacher who helps solve technology problems in a school and at times have also worn the official title of Tech Coordinator. However, when my kids were born, I wanted to have a different role than that of a classroom teacher. I found that being the tech specialist afforded me the opportunity to continue being an educator while allowing me a better work-home balance.

Where did you work prior to Brookwood?
In reverse chronological order: Kingsley Montessori School, Derby Academy, Atrium School, Community School, Acumen Consulting Company, Philadelphia Public Schools, Washington University Earth and Planetary Sciences

Explain your job and what you do here at school.
My job is a hybrid of technology integration and technology support. I work with teachers to help plan how technology can be integrated into their curriculum, I teach students directly, and I help troubleshoot and solve technology issues when they arise. I currently work with PreK through fifth grade. 

What do you like about this kind of work?
I love the moments of discovery and mastery that students happen upon as they learn. I love working with technology, and I love helping teachers expand and transform their curricula. I enjoy the troubleshooting process that leads to a feeling of accomplishment when I find a solution.

What drew you to the Brookwood School community?
I was looking for a school in which I could really push myself and help move the school forward. I was constrained at the school where I was and did not see myself growing in a way I wanted to. I already knew some people at Brookwood, and the interview process was fabulous. I had some excellent conversations on that day that convinced me that this was the place to be.

What have you discovered about Brookwood that has surprised you?
People really appreciate the work that others do here.