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Paul Brinson, chief information officer for District 65, announced last week that he is retiring from District 65. He told the RoundTable he would be leaving to join his wife and family in Texas on July 29. While the departure date came only days after the announcement, Mr. Brinson said he began thinking about retiring last December and told Superintendent Hardy Murphy a month ago, but asked that it not be made public so he would not be viewed as a “lame duck” administrator.
Mr. Brinson joined District 65 nine years ago, in August 2002, and has served as the director of the District’s Information Services department since it was formed. He had previously worked at the Fort Worth Independent School District for seven years. Superintendent Hardy Murphy was employed at that same district for 20 years before becoming Superintendent of District 65. Counting the time at District 65, the two worked together for 14 years, Mr. Brinson told the RoundTable.
Mr. Brinson was director of the District’s Information Services department, which has 20 employees, and had a wide range of responsibilities over technology, data management systems, assessments and accountability, program evaluation, and external research.
In some of his more visible roles at District 65, Mr. Brinson oversaw the preparation of the District’s student achievement reports and was responsible for preparing projections of student enrollment and analyses of the need for additional classroom space at schools in the District. Most recently he has been providing data and analyses to the New School/Referendum Committee, which is charged with considering the feasibility of establishing a new school in the City’s Fifth Ward. He has also overseen the student registration process, as well as the admission process to the magnet schools which are used to relieve overcrowding at the schools.
When asked what he viewed as his major accomplishments at the District, Mr. Brinson said, “Changing how we use information.” He said the student data system has been cleaned up and replaced; and student data, including attendance records, test data, etc. is now maintained electronically and is readily accessible to teachers and administrators to support decisions. Likewise the data systems for the human resource and the finance departments have been successfully replaced and staff can access and use the data interactively.
He added that there is now wireless technology throughout the schools to support 3,500 computers, and that instructional technology, such as promethean boards, is now being used in the classrooms. He said he played a role in designing the professional development programs that train teachers how to use technology in the classrooms. He mentioned additional areas in which data is maintained and accessible through technology, such as special education and library services.
“Paul will be remembered and appreciated for innovative technology-based programs and systems including summer camps for students, curriculum- based assessments, and comprehensive student and employee data bases,” said Superintendent Hardy Murphy. “His ingenuity, vision, and skills changed the District’s culture with the ubiquitous presence of technology as an enhancement to our teaching and learning process.
“Because of his background and experiences in gifted education, knowledge about instructional processes, and his analytical approach to problem solving, he was a significant contributor to our District improvement efforts.”
When asked if anything happened at the District that triggered his decision to leave, Mr. Brinson said, “Because my announcement to everybody appeared to be so sudden – it wasn’t sudden at all – people think something must have happened. That’s not the case at all.” He said he wants to “shift gears” and spend time with his wife and family in Texas and be close to his daughter and granddaughter in Alabama.
He added he hopes to stay involved with some of the major projects he has been working on, such as the proposed new school, on a consulting basis if that can be worked out.