Thornton Academy Postscripts Alumni Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 4

How tech guru, father, husband, triathlete, & creative artist Ben Nasse ’93 rises to the top As Director of Technology at Thornton Academy, Ben Nasse ’93 lives and breathes in a world of innovation. He’s tasked with keeping the school not only up-to-date with the latest hardware and software, but also with envisioning how technology transforms learning in the classroom from a pedagogical perspective. His dedication garnered global recognition on November 29, 2016 when representatives from Apple visited campus to recognize Thornton Academy as an Apple Distinguished School. This distinction is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, 4 “I honestly feel like I won the lottery. I cannot imagine my life going any better.” fantastic the way you’ve realized the vision of the one-to-one program and have taken it beyond hardware by integrating into the classroom. That was the dream. That was the vision. I always tried to communicate [that] this isn’t a hardware project; it’s a learning project. You’ve really taken that idea and realized it in very special ways, and that’s why you’ve been recognized by Apple. I still think there are lots of things we can do to improve and (L to R): Headmaster Rene Menard ’88, Amanda Doyle, and Ben Nasse ’93 with the Apple Distinguished School recognition. and educational excellence, while demonstrating a clear vision of exemplary learning environments. Ben explained, “Apple came to us, recognizing that we were fulfilling many of their goals and asked, ‘Would you consider applying?’” Thornton launched a one-to-one iPad program in the fall of 2014 to equip students and staff with the tools necessary for success in a 21 st century learning environment, strategically aligning professional development and curriculum objectives. Now in the third year of deployment, all students in grades 8—12 are issued an iPad Mannequin Challenge went viral on the Internet earlier this academic year, Ben grabbed his camera and filmed students in his campus apartment as they appeared to be “frozen” while decorating an elaborate Christmas tree, strumming a guitar, snacking on cookies, and laughing with friends. It’s just one small example of the caring environment the Nasses provide. “I cannot overstate how transformational the Residential Life program has That’s what differentiates Thornton from other boarding schools—there’s a commitment to family life. Many of the dorm parents have their own children.” With four daughters of his own, Ben is well versed in parenting. Harper (age 11) and Emerson (age 9) are at Burns School, Scout ’22 is a student at Thornton Academy Middle School, and Isabella Rosado ’11 resides in Rhode Island, is married, and has a baby boy. “I honestly feel like I won the Ben’s daughters (L to R): Emerson ’26, Isabella ’11, Scout ’22, and Harper ’24 mini, while all students in grades 6 and 7 are issued an 11-inch MacBook Air. Faculty members receive iPad devices and 13-inch MacBook laptops. From interactive foreign language quizzes to statistical applications for physics experiments to movie-making programs used to interpret the texts of Shakespeare, teachers and students alike are discovering new possibilities for synthesizing content. Senator Angus S. King, Jr., who first proposed a one-to-one technology program through The Maine Learning Technology Initiative in 2000 as Governor of Maine, said, “It’s really The IT Department is responsible for hardware (tablets, computers, printers, phones, copiers, security cameras, and their infrastructure), software (applications like Microsoft), and services (including Moodle, Gmail, eBackpack, and PowerSchool). Ben is a member of the International Society of Technology and Education (ISTE) and attends their annual conference where the industry’s best practices, standards, and goals are shared. He maintains relationships with vendors so that they are people he can trust—for example, he has known Apple Representative Tara Maker “since Day 1” of the initiative. In the photo at left, Ben discusses Thornton’s program to visiting educators during the Apple School Visit in November 2016. The bins are used for organizing all iPad devices. build on the potential that technology gives us in our classrooms and you’re leading the way in Maine.” Beyond overseeing technology at Thornton, Ben is involved in nearly all aspects of campus life. He and his wife Jodi serve as Dorm Parents in Stasio Hall, which welcomes girls from countries across the world, including Poland, Ukraine, Rwanda, Italy, Spain, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Turkey. When the been to Thornton Academy. The students are kind, polite, and they take their studies seriously,” said &VF27BfV&W"F&FআVBFRf'7BVFW&FV&WV6VRvR3Uv6&V6Bv2VFBV'Gv&֖rWW&V6RFPFW&F7GVFVG2( 6VRF&F2FV"6V6BRFW6R&RG0vFvFRFW"WfW'Ff V'2FWFƲ&WBrFW֗70B&WBFR7G&rfVVƖrbf֖ǒ5D%%TDT2D2%TDT2b54RdԔŐGFW'6BvRגƖfRvp&WGFW"( 6B&VvR7GVFVBBF&F&VVB666W"6W'fr26Fআ26V"V"v2V&W"`7GVFVB6V6BFFW&W7@7F'BVvƗ66W'6W2PF7F7Fǒ&VV&W'27&VFrfFV&WB6F6W"FR'Rf"Ff@'Vfb( 2672W6rd26W&F@6VBVFB'W6rFR7F'B@7F'WGFrfVGW&R@P