Laura Valentine is the new technology support specialist for Sevier Middle School. This is actually her second time working at Sevier. Technology has always been a large part of her life.
“Technology always made sense to me even at a very young age,” Valentine said. “Just a few clicks, and I would quickly figure out whatever I needed to do. Starting at about eight years old, I helped my church make bulletins and really enjoyed creating things that others would find useful. However, I did not start working in technology until I worked at Johnson City Medical
Center, where I was a Certified Nursing Assistant. I quickly realized I had a knack for computers and decided to pursue that as a career.”
Before Valentine began working At Sevier, she worked at the Administrative Support Center for Kingsport City Schools. She’s actually worked at several schools to help with security cameras, door locks and check-in systems.
“Last year, I oversaw the technology for Kennedy, Jackson, Washington and Roosevelt and the year before that, with Mr. Trent’s help, oversaw Sevier as well,” Valentine said. “Most of you may not know this is not my first time at Sevier. About 3 years ago, I was here for several months until we found Mr. Trent.”
Although her day varies, most days she comes to work around 7 am, checks her emails, and makes a to-do list for the morning from the teacher emails and the work orders she receives. Then she visits each class which she had put on her list and collect any devices needing repair. She brings the devices back to her office, repairs them, then return them to the class.
“In addition to my rounds, I am called to classrooms for urgent needs, do a lot of electronic paperwork to update our list of students, day users,” Valentine said. “I also track down lost devices, talk to parents about issues and broken devices, make all the paper computer forms you fill out at the beginning of the year into digital files, work with contractors to install new technology, and teach teachers about new technology among other tasks that come up during the day.”
Because of the loaner devices in the classroom, students can turn their devices in to the teacher and use a loaner. That way, students don’t lose any class time. The teacher then informs Valentine that there is a device that needs to be fixed and she picks it up during her rounds.
“This also allows me to leave to help anyone who needs my help right away knowing that no one is wasting class time coming down and my office is closed,” Valentine said.
Technology has changed a lot since Valentine was a student. When she was in school, there was a computer lab class that had old Apple computers.
“You had to know what command to type to launch a program or do anything at all,” she said. “The only things we did in the class was learning to make flyers and a multi-fold pamphlets which were super hard back then since you didn’t have all the cool tools that Word or Google drive have. When we were done with our work we could sometimes play games on a floppy disk such as my favorite Oregon Trail, but you had to know the command to type in to access the floppy disk and play the game.”