Ron Hein – Director of Technology
State-of-the-art technology offers Niles Community Schools’ students the tools they need to learn and compete in today’s economy. From the classroom to the cafeteria and everywhere in between, Niles students, teachers and staff rely heavily on efficient technology systems.
In charge of the district’s technological infrastructure is Ron Hein, Director of Technology. Ron says most people think his job revolves around computers, but the role includes much more – wireless internet, telephones, classroom projectors and document cameras, food services systems, and even a fuel-management system for the district’s buses.
In each of these areas, training is crucial to an effective rollout.
“Anyone can buy new equipment, but it’s important our staff knows how to use it productively,” Ron says. “That’s why we work very closely with the curriculum department to help with professional development, training teachers, administrators, secretaries and staff to use the programs we have in place.”
Technology upgrades are underway throughout the district as a result of the successful 2015 Niles Community Schools bond initiative, including a new phone system, wireless technology and a new public address (PA) system.
According to Ron, the response has been extremely positive and the new systems in place not only ensure better access to information, but increased safety as well. The new PA system, for example, offers better zone paging allowing principals to make pages to individual parts of a building from any phone.
“Technology has become so integrated, you can’t get through the day without it being used, even for something as simple as presenting a slideshow,” Ron says. “There is a lot technology can help our teachers and students accomplish.”
The wireless internet rollout has been highly successful. The district is looking to double the bandwidth in the months to come and will likely double it again in the next two-to-three years with demand. New firewall systems and internet safety features are also in place to ensure safe access.
The district is also upgrading the MealMagic food-services system to increase productivity in the cafeteria and implementing a fuel-management system with the transportation department to assist with bookkeeping.
Ron has been at Niles Community Schools for five years, previously serving Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation and the Department of Defense. His five children all attended Niles Community Schools, including his youngest – an incoming senior.