Posted 06/15/2012 - 01:32:55pm by Michele Melendez
College Park Elementary in San Mateo, Calif., had a great computer lab but no one to run it. Gifford Calenda, whose son attends the school, had years of experience developing software at Apple, and – in retirement – he had free time.
Perfect conditions for an encore career.
In a recent article, The Mercury News tells of how the school's principal recruited Calenda (then a parent volunteer) to become the school’s paid technical consultant. It was an easy sell.
“Calenda would run the lab for free, but being an employee gives him the authority he needs to do it properly,” reporter Aaron Kinney writes. “He regards his new role as a way to give back to the community while pursuing a newfound passion for improving schools through technology.”
The school is atypical in many ways, not the least of which is that it offers a language immersion program in Mandarin.
Calenda used his background in software development to help the school’s students enrich their understanding of Mandarin, English and math. He’s been called a “miracle worker” and “every teacher’s best friend.”
Next up for Calenda: sharing his expertise with other schools in the district through an online clearninghouse.
"As class sizes go up and funding goes down, we have to figure out creative ways to enhance education," Calenda told The Mercury News. "Computer-assisted learning is a good way to do that."
For more about Calenda’s journey, read the Mercury News story here.