Schools Technology Head Jerry Nettik to Retire
Hired in 2000, Nettik was the first person in the school district who had the word “technology” in his job description.
The School Department’s technology director, Jerry Nettik, announced earlier this month that he plans to retire in June. Notice of his retirement is on the School Committee’s agenda for tonight’s meeting.
Nettik was hired during the brief tenure of then-Superintendent Barbara Sirotin. He has served under three other superintendents since then.
Not surprisingly, Nettik has seen a lot of change during his tenure.
“The interesting part is seeing how the district has advanced over the last ten years,” he said on Monday. There was no one whose job was devoted to technology before Nettik was hired.
Rather, “there were several teachers who were given stipends and they would work outside of the school day to integrate technology.”
Nettik was hired as a computer network specialist.
“It is making sure all the computers can access all the resources,” he said of that work. “What’s referred to as the ‘behind the walls’ stuff.
“The job morphed,” he said. “I came in as more of a network person. Now I do more data management.”
He said the state and federal governments require huge amounts of data for programs like No Child Left Behind and, now, Race to the Top. With the advent of a new teacher evaluation process, that too will result in more data to manage.
“That was something that grew in recent years,” agreed Phyllis Humphreys, library media specialist at Eldredge who worked closely with Nettik over the years. “Government kept adding more components to it.”
Humphreys said she remembered how it was before Nettik was hired. At Eldredge, for instance, a parent volunteer was responsible for getting some computers up and running for the school.
“We were delighted to have someone,” she said of Nettik. “I have enjoyed working with him.”
She and Nettik said that budget constraints have made it difficult to answer every need.
“Overall, the technology department has tried very hard to do the best they can with the resources they have,” said Humphreys.
Nettik said with his departure, the district could do some re-evaluation in terms of technology staffing.
“It might be time for the district to step back and look at the job description,” he said. “That’s kind of why I gave a lot of notice.”
Going forward, Nettik said the new Cole Middle School would be the driving force for technology and what the district is going to look like in the future. The chief difficulty, he said, is “the shrinking budget and how to properly support what’s there.”
Nettik said he had no firm plans for life beyond June. He and his wife (a school principal in South Kingstown who is also retiring this year) moved to Rhode Island from Montana. They may return to the West – their two daughters live in Denver.
“We’re still up in the air as to what we’re doing,” he said. “I’m needing a career change from public to private.”