My Last All Staff Email

Dear Winneconne Team Member:
I have to admit I am feeling a little guilty on my last day with the District. I am running a little late for work!  My daughter’s cat is moving with me to Switzerland, and I have to have a veterinarian examine the cat within 10 days of my travel. I am penning this from home waiting for my appointment.  🙂 

WCSD will always hold a special place in my heart.  I began my IT career at Winneconne.  There are two things I will never forget about my first year.  Number one was shutting down the network, because I had never configured a firewall before, and I got one little comma in the wrong place.  Only the English teachers can relate to how important proper punctuation is….  (Please no comments I have never learned to write well.) . The second memory seared into my mind was the day two HS teachers caught me surfing pornography!  You see when I first started none of the systems were automatic.  Chris Hansen told me that one of my jobs was look for bad sights so I could manually block them from access.  I was successful one day after I had been there about five months, and just at the time I was copying the URL to add to the filter two teachers walked into my office, and I couldn’t get the screen shut off in time.  Needless to say it was a very uncomfortable few minutes.  🙂 . 

The district has grown a lot over the last 16 years.  When I started we had about 350 computers.  Today we have over 1700.  Sixteen years ago we had almost 30 different physical servers running in the main data center, and each school had an additional three or four just to run the building.  The server room was so loud, that after a month I was forced to move my office out of the server room, because I was tired of wearing my shooting ear muffs all day.  Today we only have seven physical servers and you can actually talk in a normal tone of voice in the data center.  When I started the internet connection for the district was 5 mbps.  This past summer we upgraded the speed to 2000 mbps.  The technology has changed a lot, but through the years one thing has remained the same.  YOU….  

I believe the thing that separates WCSD from most other school districts is the simple belief that students come first.  Every single day, each one of you does what is the best for the students at Winneconne.  It truly makes a difference, and every single one of you is key to the success. In every other organization I have belonged I have found that drive and determination in only one besides Winneconne and that was the 10 years I spent in the Army.  Your dedication to student success is one of the things I do not think I will ever find again.  I thank you all for that.

As I leave I would ask only that you continue to strive to do your best.  To continue learning new things, and to share that knowledge with your peers and students.  Well, I guess I would ask for two more things.   Please remember the lessons I tried to impart on student data privacy, and more importantly how to recognize SPAM.  I really don’t want Dave calling me and saying someone clicked on a bogus Amazon email and locked up the district with cryptolocker!!!

Many have asked what I will be doing in Switzerland.  Well as of right now, my primary job will be to take care of my wife.  I can’t look for work until I take a German class, and then pass a test to show I have attempted to learn the language.  I also have been reaching out to schools in and around Zurich.  I would like to spend some of my time learning about the education system of Switzerland.  Learn how they use technology in the classroom, and can hopefully share some of my knowledge with them.  

If you would like to follow my journey I have started a blog called The ExPatEducator.  So far most of the blog has been a stress reliever and it is mostly about the pain of preparing to move to another country.   However, I will be using it to share Julie’s and my adventures, and once I can get into some schools what I am learning about the Swiss education system.  You can find the blog at https://www.theexpateducator.org . 
Please take care, and although I will get in trouble for this (what are they going to do, Fire Me?) God Bless you all:

George Sorrells 

Director of Technology

Winneconne Community School District 
Learning Today … Leading Tomorrow

 

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