As the lead engineer over the infrastructure team in Spring Branch Independent School District (SBISD), Ben Allen plays a crucial role in ensuring that the technology within the district operates seamlessly, fostering an environment where students can learn effectively and thrive in all their endeavors.
Having dedicated five years to SBISD, Ben finds immense satisfaction in contributing to the district's mission of inspiring minds and shaping lives through high-quality education. He describes his current role as a true calling, expressing his commitment to helping students reach their full potential.
"I really can't imagine being any place else, and I'm proud to be here," said Ben.
Finding his way back
You might describe Ben as a "boomerang" employee. After initially working in SBISD for a couple of years, Ben explored a comparable role in the private sector. Despite the allure and prestige of working for a Fortune 100 company, Ben quickly realized that his heart belonged in K-12 education. Driven by a desire to contribute to developing young minds instead of climbing the corporate ladder, Ben decided to return to SBISD.
"I've always loved K-12 education, but it really hit me just how much I enjoyed working in education while I was in the private sector," said Ben. "There's something incredibly fulfilling about contributing to the education of the next generation. It's not just about making money for a company; it's about making a difference in the lives of young learners."
A love for education and technology
Ben brings his enthusiasm for education and a love of technology to the workplace every day.
"I appreciate the dynamic nature of technology within a school district, providing me with opportunities to engage with diverse facets of the field," said Ben. "Through my SBISD experience, I've had the opportunity to learn many different things and expand my skill set."
A Sam Houston State University graduate in Huntsville, Ben studied the criminal justice system in college. Through his coursework, he became fascinated with cybersecurity, eventually leading him to pursue a career in information technology.
A shared love of education
Even though the environment can sometimes be fast-paced and high-pressured, Ben has been able to achieve work/life balance as an SBISD employee. Creating such a balance is a priority for him, especially because he and his wife are anticipating the arrival of their first child. He acknowledges the supportive and understanding culture, allowing him to juggle his personal and professional responsibilities.
"As we eagerly await the arrival of our first child, I'm grateful to be working in an environment that values the importance of family as SBISD does," said Ben. "It helps to lessen the anxiety for an expectant parent to know they will have my back as we navigate this exciting milestone in our lives."
The supportive nature of the SBISD culture, combined with the dedicated leadership under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Blaine, Ed.D., superintendent of schools, are just two reasons why Ben considers himself a Spring Branch "lifer."
"Dr. Blaine sets the tone for the entire district, and I have immense respect for her," said Ben. "She's been instrumental in instilling a shared love of education throughout the district, and it's evident that everyone throughout the district, regardless of their position or level, possesses it."
Investing in technology
As he anticipates becoming a parent for the first time, Ben looks forward to deepening his roots in the Spring Branch area. He looks forward to his child benefiting from the district's top-notch educational opportunities, supported by the state-of-the-art technology it delivers.
"While it may sound biased, I believe SBISD has the best technology in the area to facilitate learning for kids. Everything in the district is technology-centric, and I want my own children to experience that," said Ben.
Working in the SBISD technology department housed in the corridors of the Guthrie Center, Ben sees firsthand the investment the district has made in ensuring students, staff, and teachers always have access to the technological tools they need, creating an optimal learning environment for everyone.
Because everything relies heavily on technology, Ben and his team work tirelessly every day to orchestrate the symphony of servers and connections that underpin the seamless functioning of the entire school district with no interruption. Despite the occasional demands of working holidays and weekends, Ben appreciates the collaborative and like-minded individuals who surround him, making the effort worthwhile.
"Sometimes we have to be here when everyone else is not to get the work done," said Ben. "It's part of the job that comes with the territory, and I don't mind it because I know, at the end of the day, it's the students who benefit."
Shaping the future of SBISD
With a steadfast dedication to his department and SBISD's Core Values, Ben envisions a long-term future with the district. While harboring aspirations for increased leadership responsibilities in the SBISD one day, his immediate focus remains to strengthen the district's technological foundation. He wants to ensure the technical infrastructure is as robust as the educational opportunities it delivers to its students for generations to come.
"I'm committed to helping to shape a future where SBISD continues to excel in providing top-notch education supported by cutting-edge technology," he said.
To learn more about career opportunities in SBISD, click here.