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."