Day in the Life of a K12 Tech Director #
Honestly, you can’t expect ANYTHING except for chaos… This will bring out my lecture on the two primary pillars of our work, planned and unplanned (shout out to “The Phoenix Project“), but for now, I’ll do my best to give you a decent visual representation of our day.
Everything’s burning, but I’m fine.
- You may notice, that’s not a lot… but you’re out of time. This is why, and I’ll expand on this several times, it’s VERY IMPORTANT to limit “unplanned” work. Have a system in place to manage unplanned tasks – like Chromebook damage. Hot-swap them and delegate the repair!
So, you’re aware of what to expect for your first “scheduled” day. However, this easy-to-follow schedule doesn’t just happen overnight. You will have to grind for a year (if not several) to get to this point unless you were fortunate enough to be handed a well-running machine with all processes in place.
If you’re like the others that weren’t given that dream environment, you’ll be happy to know that I have the resources to help you kick off quickly!
Your First Few Months #
- Meet and greet with some folks if you’re new to the organization. Find out some common pain points for their departments. Start documenting everything you’re hearing.
- Student Printing is horrible
- Faculty WiFi drops
- Not enough EdTech Training, etc…
- Lock yourself in your technology office. DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING – yet. Spend time reconciling.
- Document every little detail. Assets that you see, every network cabinet, server room, cable, dead fly, etc… (PUT ALL DOCUMENTATION INTO A SINGLE SOURCE OF TRUTH)
- These are the primary things to document (here’s a template)
- Where are they?
- How many physical hosts do you have? (physical boxes)
- How many virtual machines do you have?
- Where’s the DC hosted and is it being replicated (at the least) and backed up?
- What are the IP addresses for all servers?
- Workstations (laptops, desktops)
- Audio Systems
- Phone System
- Visitor Management System
- Door Access Controls
- Intercom System
- Where’s the primary node (device)?
- How do you log into it? Do you know the IP address?
- Where’s the primary server, is it cloud-hosted?
- Do you have authoritative access to make account changes?
- Do you know which number to call or how to put a ticket in if there’s a failure?
- Door Access Controls
- Where is the primary node?
- What’s the IP?
- How do you log into the interface?
- Where are they located?
- Take photos of the patch panels and switch ports (this will be handy!).
- Try to map out the topology physically
- Are the uplinks fiber?
- Which ports have fiber-connected?
- Can you log into the switch and read the port descriptions?
- Are you running VLANs? Or is it a flat network? Do you see access VLANS or just trunk ports? Or just a single access VLAN?
- Are switches, in the same cabinet, “stacked” with a stacking cable, or an ethernet port stacked?
- Layer 1
- Document (with photos) all cabinets showing their patch panel connections and names.
- Document the fiber connectors and names
- Do you host on-prem, or use a cloud-based system?
- How do you log into it?
- Does it tie into door access controls?