Thornton Academy Postscripts Alumni Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 6

“I cannot overstate how transformational the Residential Life program has been to Thornton Academy. The students are kind, polite, and they take their studies seriously.” the time. He presented the video at the University of Southern Maine where he continued his education by enrolling in Media Studies. Immersed in video editing, he basically “lived in the computer lab” mastering Final Cut Pro, which provided a strong technical foundation and led him to sign up for a very challenging programming class. Ben remembers it as an invigorating and humbling experience. “I was so scared, but I remember saying, ‘I really like C++ and Java. I can do this.’” assisting with solving problems, they also work to empower staff and students to be able to find solutions independently, while encouraging faculty to innovate their teaching methods. Ben explained that they are constantly asking questions like, “How do we integrate? How do we get staff After graduating from USM in 2003, he seized the opportunity to return to his alma mater to work in tech support where he could bring his experience to “add immediate value” to the school. Henry Beeukes was the Director of IT at the time. “It was so fun to go to work Students from all over because it improved the world love to spend people’s lives. I time in the Nasse Family’s loved being able apartment in Stasio Hall. to add that value,” said Ben. When the Director position opened in 2006 Ben transitioned into to adopt new technologies into daily the role, moving the IT Department practices?” From devices in classrooms more towards the network side to locking doors to overseeing the of operations because of the Residential Program’s needs, the IT interconnected nature of educational Department’s responsibilities are far- technology. reaching. Now that Thornton has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished Ben’s team currently includes School, what comes next? Technology Technology Integration Specialist doesn’t sit idly. The team is hard at Amanda Doyle, IT Assistant Bruce Van work putting together long-term Der Riet, and IT Assistant Amanda strategic plans and partnerships with (Tanguay) Normand ’06. Beyond goals that include moving students and 6 faculty to use the exact same devices, and continuing to push forward with initiatives that enhance classroom experiences. Whether he’s playing tug-of-war at Hill Stadium for the Dorm Olympics, watching his daughter dance across Garland Auditorium’s stage in The Lion King, or serving dinner for students at his apartment in Stasio Hall on a snow day, Ben goes above and beyond any job description to ensure that the Thornton Academy experience is rewarding, distinguished, and fun. His hard work ethic carries over to his free time as he participates in several triathlons, including the iconic half Ironman—a demanding course consisting of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run. He likes that it’s a personal challenge requiring stamina. Motoring through the water, pedaling down a paved road, or leaping across the finishing line, similar to when he’s tackling a complicated technology problem at school, he’s only competing with one person: himself. “Ben is a thoughtful, inspiring, and immensely supportive leader. His experience as an alum and TA parent contribute to his dedication to student achievement and ultimately impact the TA experience in so many (often invisible) ways. I once heard a fellow colleague say he’s the best example of what a dad should be. I’d add to that by saying that’s true of him as a leader as well. He’s a person who asks the right questions even when they’re tough ones.”- Technology Integration Specialist Amanda Doyle “Ben is a pleasure to work with and for; he is a wealth of knowledge and always willing to help out in any way he can. It is refreshing to work for someone who lets us get on with the job and who only wants the best for his staff.”- IT Assistant Bruce Van Der Riet “Whenever I’m asked about my job, one of the first things I say is how lucky I am to work with such remarkable thinkers. Ben is one of the most thoughtful people I know! The attention he puts into every decision, personal and professional, and its impact on others is profound and commendable.” - IT Assistant Amanda (Tanguay) Normand ’06 So…how about a full Ironman? “No, the half was enough for me!” he said with a laugh. But with Ben, you just never know. Ben's family has strong connections to Thornton Academy. His mother, Mary Nasse, was an Associate Headmaster for Student Services at Thornton for several years and taught special education. Ben’s brothers are Jeffrey ’90 who is a Dean of Broward College, and David ’95, who is a lawyer in Washington D.C. Ben's daughters will all be TA alumnae. Top photo (L to R): Kelly Munyuza ’16 of Rwanda, Nil Berke ’15 from Turkey, Jodi Nasse, and Scout Nasse ’22 compete at the Dorm Olympics. Right photo: Ben celebrates the wedding day of his daughter, Isabella Rosado ’11. Bottom left: Ben’s daughters congratulate him as he finishes a challenging half Ironman race. 7