Board of Directors Election Candidate: Tam Nguyen
Tam Nguyen is the Chief Technology Officer for Orange Unified School District (OUSD) in Southern California, the state's 35th largest school district serving 25,000 students and
40 school sites. He has been a K-12 technology professional for 21 years. Mr. Nguyen supports 36 staff and management employees responsible in the areas of network infrastructure, business information systems, and client services. He has led the District in rebuilding its failing infrastructure and data center, migrating its financial system, creating sustainable practices and policies, and most notably shifting the culture and perception of Technology Services to a more customer-centric department. Mr. Nguyen is also active in the California IT in Education (CITE) where he mentors in the CITE CTO Mentor Program.
How long have you been in your current role and how did you get there?
I've been a Chief Technology Officer for a little over a year after I successfully influenced the decision to create the position with my District. After implementing a $600k-a-year reorganization touching 90% of my staff, the District was compelled to keep me at the helm and further leverage my experience to propel District initiatives. I was previously the IT Director for OUSD for nine years.
What's a recent win you've had at work?
After years of gaining grassroots support, board presentations, and advocacy for my staff and the organization, my proudest and most recent win was for my staff with the approval of a sustained $600,000-a-year re-organization plan. This meant more positions for growth opportunities, better vacation benefits, and more on-the-job training - all leading to higher job satisfaction and better quality of life. Over 90% of my staff benefited from the change. I fought hard for my team and was proud that I did my part and was able to deliver what they deserved!
How long have you been a CITE member? What is your favorite memory from a CITE event?
I've been a member of CETPA/CITE for eight years or so and was part of the CTO Mentor Program's Cohort 11 six years ago. After that, I stayed involved in the CTO Mentor Program as a Steering Committee member, and then as a mentor in the program since then. My favorite memory comes from the conferences where I got to see all of my cohort members, old coworkers from other Districts, and colleagues that I don't get to see
What do you do in your limited free time?
Spending time with my little girls, camping, fishing, mountain biking, riding motorcycles... Pretty much every hobby under the sun except any sport that requires a ball.
Are there any special shoutouts you'd like to give to someone in your life or the CITE Community who has made a special impact on you?
It's hard to shout out just one person since everyone I've encountered in my life, personal, professional, for good and for bad, has formed me into who I am - I am truly grateful for everyone who has given me their valuable time. ...But if there was one person, it would be Mom, of course.
If someone is intimidated or reluctant to get involved with CITE, what advice would you give them?
Just like how bad actors work with each other to share information and compromise school districts, we need to collaborate to defend ourselves. Sharing information and networking was never a strength of school districts, but CITE bucks that trend with a friendly and approachable community where K-12 IT staff can connect. Everyone needs help at some point, and the CITE community is one where it's okay to leave a penny and or take a penny. In the end, we all grow and learn by being helped and helping each other.
Instagram Handle: techguytam