July 14, 2022 - Doug Austin, SSD’s chief technology officer, recently was elected to the Missouri Education Technology Leaders (METL) Board of Directors. As a member at large, he will be sharing his expertise on implementing technology used in SSD with other technology staff members in school districts across the state.
“My hope is to bring a voice to the table about technology needs for students with special needs,” he says. “The learning needs of that population aren't always thoroughly addressed in other school districts. This is an opportunity for me to share ideas and thoughts on how we do things in our district that might benefit others.”
During the 2022-23 school year, Austin says SSD’s technology staff will be focusing on several security areas, such as multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized people from gaining access to protected information. Bridging the technology gap between standard-issue computers used in partner district classrooms and the assistive devices required by some SSD students also will be considered.
Staff, too, have technology needs that must be addressed and maintained so they can continue to support students.
“Trying to support all the different technology environments for staff in partner districts is challenging,” he says. “But, as more and newer types of technology become available, we have to revisit what we’re doing now to make sure our staff can do their job.”
METL is the Missouri chapter of CoSN, which is a national organization for tech leaders in education. Austin is the first SSD staff member to have a board position at the state level. Prior to starting as an IT staff member in SSD in 2004, he was the director of technology for New Horizons Computer Learning Centers in St. Louis. In Spring 2022, he made a presentation on remote learning for special needs students at the national CoSN conference in Nashville, Tennessee. He holds multiple industry certifications, including Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL®) and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).