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Monroe Public Schools' Technology Director Heads for Ridgefield

Dr. Craig Tunks has been employed in Monroe for eight years.

During the work week, Monroe Public Schools' technology director, Dr. Craig Tunks, leaves his New York home, then turns onto Route 287 toward the Merritt Parkway as part of a 63 mile trip. Tunks has found a way to significantly shorten his morning commute. He accepted the position of Director of Technology and Operations Development in Ridgefield.

The move means cutting the 90 minutes on the road down to 40.

"It was never about money," Tunks said. "It was about quality of life."

In his eight years in Monroe, Tunks wore a lot of hats. He is director of technology operations and performance management, which encompasses facilities, technology and human resources.

"We were surprised," Board of Education Chairman Darrell Trump said of Tunk's resignation. "He's done a superb job. Craig's done a fantastic job of keeping technology up with what funds we've had."

Trump said Tunks was instrumental in keeping the town and the board in sync in terms of technology upgrades and support. Tunks had provided tech support for the town, as well as the school district.

"One of the great things Craig did is he bridged the gap between the Board of Education and the town in sharing infrastructure," Trump said. "I'm sorry to see him go."

But Trump added that he understood how Tunks commuting three hours both a day during the week could take a toll.

Nevertheless, Tunks said leaving Monroe is not easy.

"I'm gonna miss the people," he said. "I'm gonna miss the administrators. The things I would miss, I will miss so much I don't know where to begin."

When he was first hired in Monroe, Tunks recalls the teachers union leader writing him to welcome him to the district. "That was before I even had my first day," Tunks said.

The Monroe Board of Education will accept his letter of resignation during a special meeting at the school district's central office, 375 Monroe Turnpike, this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The board will also vote to post for the position of director of technology and operations.

Tunks said he has already received touching emails from people wishing him well in his new endeavors. His last day in Monroe will be Friday, Aug. 17, and he will start his new job in Ridgefield on Monday, Aug. 20.

"I think I can really contribute there. It's exciting," Tunks said of Ridgefield Public Schools. "They're looking to do a huge amount of work with data and supporting interaction using data and they're ready to blaze a new trail in Bring Your Own Technology to the middle school and the high school."

Bill Bittar (Editor) June 25, 2012 at 06:50 PM
This article has been updated to add quotes from Board of Education Chairman Darrell Trump.
Brian Quinn June 25, 2012 at 07:00 PM
“Craig is a true professional. In the information technology world there are many competent people. But few understand all aspects. Craig is one of the few. Every good IT director has to have some core network competencies. As you will see below, Craig's talents extend light-years beyond running a network. Network management Craig has all the core competencies. In hiring an IT director for a Board of Education, you would need someone to manage Microsoft Server operating systems, network bandwidth management for 1000+ users, bullet proof backups strategies, multi tiered network security plans, firewalls, content filtering, fiber optic WAN management and roll outs managing techs, imaging & time deadlines. A human resources person would hire him on just the things mention so far. But Craig offered SO much more....................... Finance Craig understands return on investment on hardware, recurring software application licensing, communications contracts, and human assets. He also has a great intuitive sense for identifying which new technology to adopt vs.. the many to avoid.
Brian Quinn June 25, 2012 at 07:05 PM
cont: Personnel Management: Managing techs can be a difficult task. Their motivation and style is different in many cases from other workers. Craig gets it. He speaks to each member of his team understanding what tasks are ahead, what training is going to be required and how each individual is personally motivated. He is a true team builder. In addition: Craig understands obtaining grant funding, Police 911 & Town Hall disaster recovery, generators & large scale battery backups, politics, budget writing, criminal data mining and managing the support of all the varied applications that run an entire town. Few realize how many things fell under Craig's umbrella of care. Remember to include security cameras, IP telephone systems, printers and copiers, and police car terminals. Managing technology for the Schools, Police Department & Town Hall plus a Senior Center and new Library. Every PC, bar code reader, telephone or printer has been touched by him personally or his department. As a tax payer and computer professional in the Town of Monroe I can say with confidence that Craig Tunks did a fantastic job and will be leaving Monroe in FAR better shape than he found it. We are also fortunate he has built a very competent tech team ready to take on the challenges ahead. Craig will be missed and has left big shoes to fill. It's not often you find such a hard working, unselfish, dedicated, talented person in the IT field. Best wishes for continued success.
Sue June 25, 2012 at 09:07 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with Brian Quinn. Craig will be sorely missed in Monroe, but not just for his technical skills but also for his humanity. Craig worked well with both the members of the education community and also the Town Hall community. He is an outstanding individual with extensive knowledge and also a man with heart! He will be missed.
Vera Karger June 26, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Congratulations to Craig for moving on to a healthier lifestyle. You’ll be missed.
Dave Levy June 26, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I've has the pleasure of meeting with Craig Tunks a couple of times and agree that it is a loss to Monroe. I also heartily congratulate him on finding a position closer to home. It will be hard moving on without you, but you have left a wonderful legacy. Good luck.

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