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Technology Super Users


I


t took me five different freeways and over an hour to travel the 56 miles from the School Trans- portation News office in Torrance, California, to Ontario, but only one minute to see why Trans-


portation Director Brice Sunderland is a “Technology Super User.” Strolling through the campus last month at Chaffey Joint Union High School District amid the beautiful green oak trees was the calm before the storm. While students weren’t expected back to campus for a couple more days, the hustle and bustle of preparing for their return was in full swing. Sitting at his desk with a furrowed look on his face was Sunderland. His office consists of school bus memorabilia and inspirational quotes such as, “Be awesome today” and “In this office we are helpful, we achieve goals, we are courteous, we are patient, we are successful, we work together, we are team.” The space is extremely clean with no paper documents, handwritten notes or stacks of folders in sight. “I’m a big proponent of let’s not use paper, papers


get lost,” Sunderland commented, as he sent email messages to parents. “I try and stay away from the paper stuff. I like electronic, it’s easier. I can pull up information from my fingertips.” That week, he had informed some parents that


due to the school bus driver shortage not all gener- al education students that had previously received transportation services would be eligible for the up- coming school year. At the time, he had 25 children on a waitlist. Plus, minutes before I arrived, he was sending out bus stop times and information. There was no shortage of work to be done in the transpor- tation department. During our 15-minute interview in his office, the phones never stopped ringing. One common question that parents kept asking


was when students would receive their RIFD cards, and how the newly implemented student tracking system would work with the Tyler Drive tablets that were installed last year.


What does ‘Tech Super user’ mean to you? “It means that you use technology to better your


professional job, and I use it a lot. And I drive my peo- ple crazy here with it sometimes. But usually, if there’s something that I can do through a computer instead of by hand, I’m going to find a way to do it. And I think that’s what makes the person a super user. Is they find ways to use technology, to do tasks that aren’t normal- ly done that way. And that’s what I enjoy about it.” —Brice Sunderland


Meet Tech Super User: Brice Sunderland Following what he described as


an untraditional start to the school transportation industry, Brice Sunderland is


going on his sixth year leading the transportation operations at Chaffey Joint Union High School District in Ontario, California. Sunderland began his career in education as a teacher with a degree in chemistry before becoming an athletic director for 16 years. Then he became an assistant princi- pal for five years before assuming his current role. His varied background, he said, allows him to look at things from a different perspective, which is why data is very important to him. “I love stats, I love data,” Sunderland said. “I’m


that kind of person, and I’m also a trivia buff.” In fact, Sunderland was on the television game show Jeopardy! in 2016 and has a picture with Alex Trebec, who hosted for 37 seasons before dying last year. Sunderland also appeared on Sports Jeopardy! with Dan Patrick. When he was asked to transition from the assis- tant principal to the transportation director by his superintendent, Sunderland said he couldn’t say no. Mostly because when the superintendent asks you to do something, you do it, he explained. “It’s been a blessing to a great extent … It


gives me a better understanding of our employ- ees and a better understanding our district from a much different perspective, which I enjoy,” Sunderland said. “We’ve been building some- thing positive ever since, so we just want to keep the ball rolling.” Sunderland is celebrating his 30th


year in


education, 24 of which he has served at Chaffey Joint Union High School District


Technology Used:


• Communications Systems • GPS/GIS/Vehicle Tracking • Health & Wellness Tech • Onboard Tablets/Mobile Data Terminals • Student Tracking/RFID • Transportation Routing Software • Video Security Systems


www.stnonline.com 55


PHOTO BY RICHARD HART


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