Conner named Director of Information Technology

Jan. 26, 2013 @ 07:37 AM

As of January, Justin Conner was named Rutherford County School's Director of Information Technology.

Conner is coming into this new position from East Rutherford High School, where he was a computer engineering teacher.

"Basically, what I am doing is a new position. NC WISE, the student data system that we have been using is going out in June and we are starting with a new company," Conner said. "Forest Carpenter, the man that has been working with NC WISE is retiring."

Carpenter has been working with Rutherford County Schools for 32 years. He has been in the student information systems position for 15 years.

"I'm ready for retirement. I don't have any plans set in stone, I am just planning on enjoying it," Carpenter said. "I have a grandson that will be in kindergarten, so I will have some time to spend with him before he starts school."

Carpenter taught himself everything he knew about computer technology and advanced into his position.

"I just basically did it on my own. I was a teacher at Mt. Vernon-Ruth for several years, then I was transferred to Chase High School to teach computer classes. From there I went on to become a computer facilitator for the Chase district and was transfered to student information systems," Carpenter said. "So basically, all of my computer skills are things I learned on my own, through classes I chose."

Carpenter will officially retire at the end of February, and Conner will step in to train RCS employees in the new student information program, PowerSchool, which will go live for the 2013-14 school year.

"The state has chosen to change their student information system for multiple reasons. The one concrete reason is that the system we were using, NC WISE, was the product of a company that was bought by Pearson. Pearson made it not available anymore," Carpenter said. "The state of North Carolina had to go with another student information system and they have decided to go with PowerSchool."

Conner has already started the process of learning about the new web-based student information system.

"I love working with brand new systems. I will be able to make it my own because I am learning from the beginning. There will be nothing that I have missed," Conner said.

The one major difference in his new role is that he will not spend his days in the classroom with students.

"I am still teaching at ICC online and at night, so I will still be able to work with students," Conner said. "I am also hoping that during the registration process I can go out to the schools and work with them."