Elliot Lopez sees the intrinsic value of multimedia and communications programs to help K-12 students build their citizenship skills and self-confidence at the Sacramento City Unified School District, a lofty mission that he says would be impossible without the partnership of the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium (SECC).
“The SECC partnership empowers our students to develop their voices and instills in them the attributes that we want our students to have — in order to be successful in their future careers and as parents and leaders of our community,” says Elliot, who is Vice Chair of the SECC Board and the Chief Information Officer for Sacramento City Unified.
“The SECC has been an effective vehicle to proactively reach out to our schools and teachers with interest in those areas… and to launch those efforts in their schools. The SECC is an organization that has allowed our schools to invest in resources and programs that they might not otherwise have — either because of a lack of funding or because they didn’t have the technology resources or because teachers did not have the opportunities for professional development or networking that they could leverage — to be able to promote careers and opportunities to work in media, communications and technology for their students.”
As a youngster growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., Elliot was far more interested in his favorite baseball team — the New York Mets — than technology or video production. But he developed a keen interest in education at an early age, in large part because of one teacher who kept an obvious and knowing eye on him.
Elliot’s second grade teacher at PS 159, Miss Winnick, would spend time each day after school talking to whichever of his parents was picking him up from school: “It left an impression on me that she spent time talking to my parents every day about how I was doing. It really indicated that she cared, that she paid attention. That I mattered. I couldn’t get away with anything in her class.”
Even at such a young age, Elliot recognized that Miss Winnick was special: “At the end of the school day, most of the teachers would pick up their stuff, jump in their cars and drive [home] out to the [Long] Island. Miss Winnick stayed behind.”
After high school, Elliot went north to attend and then graduate from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., where he majored in cognitive neuropsychology and minored in education. He also obtained an elementary teaching certificate for the state of New Hampshire.
Today, as Sacramento City Unified’s Chief Information Officer, Elliot is responsible for promoting the use of information technology and instructional technology to support and advance the mission of the District.
Thousands of miles from his hometown, Elliot is still a die hard Mets fan, as well as a big fan of his two daughters who are active in sports: “I don’t have any more hobbies than that. It’s all about them. My weekends are as busy as my weeks now.”
As for the future of technology and education, Elliot sees a day when the SECC “will start to develop and facilitate the work of communities of professionals and students who can support each other and promote the values and the mission of the SECC on their own.”
“Ideally, the SECC will help bring together student and teacher communities who can support and collaborate with each other. I’m especially excited about the prospect of our students’ voices becoming more prominent within our community — as opposed to just within the circle of their individual schools or districts — and to see the influence those voices will have on the policies, programs and decisions affecting our community. We fail, on occasion, to take the necessary time to solicit and listen to these critical and valuable student perspectives.
“The efforts of the SECC can ultimately serve to lift the voice of young people from our schools, to empower them through student activism and participation in the political process within our communities, and to actualize their transition to leadership in our region.
“How amazing and positive would that be?”
Want to contact Elliot? Write to him at email@example.com