Skip Zalneraitis is a Technology Integrator at Pioneer Valley Regional School in Northfield, Massachusetts. Although we’ve never met face to face, his educational and humour presence on social media makes him a daily favourite to read. Through this interview, I tried to find out more about this amazing and prolific gentleman.
Doug: Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Skip. My first question is always “When did our paths first cross?” Can you remember?
Skip: Several years years ago I discovered your daily curatorial posts on Twitter. I was so impressed that I subscribed.
Doug: Just about every morning, I see your presence on social media. It usually starts with a weather update from Brattleboro, VT. Then, there’s a stream of resources that you share. It sounds like a regular morning routine. Is it?
Skip: It is a daily routine, seven days a week.
Doug: Can I assume you live in one state but work in another?
Skip: My wife and I live in southern Vermont in downtown Brattleboro. I teach about fourteen miles due south in the little town of Northfield, MA.
Doug: I know that very often, you’ll retweet links that I’ve shared via my morning reading. Typically, I notice that they’re often Google Education related things. What’s the significance of that for you?
Skip: Our school is a Google School. I try in every way I can to share resources with our staff and faculty.
Doug: Some of Skip’s Google resources end up here. https://sites.google.com/a/pvrsdk12.org/resources/ Who is your intended audience?
Skip: This where I aggregate everything Google I have gathered each week and each week I send out an email so the folks will come and see what I have to share.
Doug: One of the things that I notice when you share resources, is that you’ll include a note of thanks as shown in the screen cap below.
The fact that you do this is conscious. That must mean that it’s important to you. Can you share why?
Skip: There are two authors for whom I want to always share attribution. You are one of them. Your energy, creativity, and critical sense are, in my experience, second to none. The only other one is Melanie Link Taylor MzTeachuh http://melanielinktaylor.mzteachuh.org/ . I have a great deal of respect for her.
Doug: You do a good job of curating on Google +. https://plus.google.com/108523245664369458849
What appeals to you about that platform? (I really, Really miss Google+.)
Skip: It has a wonderful asynchronous flow to it. I use the refresh very often to get a different look.
Doug: Sadly, Google+ is no more.
But, you do have a Facebook presence and you use it differently. Can you explain how and why?
Skip: It is my oldest living social media presence. I have such a varied community so in addition to my daily posting, I included posts that that I share because I have a strong emotional resonance with those posts. My two careers before I began this current one were as an Anglican clergyman and later in engineering, mostly in nuclear power, and I have friends and acquaintances from not only all three careers, but family as well.
Doug: In your role as Technology Integrator, what does your day look like?
Skip: Because we are so short-staffed I have been doing a great deal of teaching. I do presentations to teachers and groups, AND I respond as often as I can to help tickets. It requires a great deal of flexibility.
Doug: Your teaching profile also has you teaching Communications and Exploring Computer Science. How does that fit into your day?
Skip: Those are the face-to-face classes I teach. Communications is an important introducing our Grade 7s to our school and network, as we have students coming, on average each year, from nine different schools. I also teach a course online at VHS.
Doug: With your activities on social media, you must have a collection of favourite people to follow and best destination for resources. Can you share some of these with us?
Skip: You, Richard Byrne, Larry Ferlazzo, Melanie Taylor, and Alice Keeler are a few.
Doug: Tell me three things I don’t know about Skip Zalneraitis.
Skip: 1. I’m a daily road bike rider. 2. I am a grandfather. 3. My favorite author is Neil Gaiman.
Doug: What does the future hold for Skip Zalneraitis? As in Ontario, school must start shortly for you.
Skip: At the age 73, I’m considering when I should retire. I promised one of the science teachers, who avails herself of my skills and support very frequently, that I would stay until she retired. She just told me her year is 2024, so I can leave or change positions in that year. My younger granddaughter is coming to Pioneer in 2023, so I may stay longer. The new principal wants me be more the Tech Integrator.
Doug: Thank you for agreeing to share your thoughts with us, Skip. It’s greatly appreciated.
You can follow Skip on Social Media at:
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/skipz
- Google Resources Blog: https://sites.google.com/a/pvrsdk12.org/resources/
- Pioneer Valley Regional School: https://pvrs.pvrsdk12.org/
- Facebook: Skip Zalneraitis
Periodically, I interview interesting people like Skip for this blog. You can check out all the interviews at dougpete.wordpress.com/interviews.