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  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Dick Fogliasso is retiring as tech coordinator at Girard USD 248

  • Girard USD 248 has been recognized nationally for its incorporation of technology into education.

    The man many consider as the single person most responsible for this, Domenic R. “Dick” Fogliasso, Frontenac, is retiring from his position as Girard USD 248 technology coordinator.

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  • Girard USD 248 has been recognized nationally for its incorporation of technology into education.
    The man many consider as the single person most responsible for this, Domenic R. “Dick” Fogliasso, Frontenac, is retiring from his position as Girard USD 248 technology coordinator.
    “I’ll miss it, yes,” he said. “But there’s a time to turn things over to somebody else.”
    Fogliasso said that Rick Duling, USD 248 technology specialist, will take over as technology coordinator, and Nolan O’Toole will take over Duling’s previous position.
    “They’ll do a great job,” he said. “I don’t anticipate any problem in the transition.”
    Fogliasso has experienced many transitions in his own career, displaying a wide range of capabilities.
    He enlisted in the military reserves after graduating from Frontenac High School and was assigned to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, for both basic and advanced military training.
    “During this time, my specialty was in food service,” he said. “I subsequently became a cook and eventually a food service sergeant, responsible for the preparation of meals of over 1,500 men.”
    After returning from the military he enrolled at Pittsburg State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1975, majoring biology with a minor in chemistry. He later went on to earn a master of science in education in 1983 and an education specialist in 1987 in higher education and community college.
    Fogliasso began his education career in 1976, teaching secondary science/chemistry and earth science at USD 234, McLouth while his wife worked on her doctorate at the University of Kansas.
    In 1978 Fogliasso obtained a job as a science instructor at Girard USD 248 and remained there 35 years.
    “During my early years at Girard I taught biology, chemistry, principles of technology and a variety of other required and elective upper-level courses,” he said. “We first started our technology program in the early 1980s. A person in our school district left an endowment that the school decided to use for technology. That created our first computer lab.”
    Technology later spread to the elementary and junior high levels.
    “Basically, there was a keyboarding class and some computer games,” Fogliasso said. “A lot of other schools came to look at our school.”
    The program has grown over the years, he said, from a single microcomputer in 1981 to a network of between 800 and 900 computers, multiple file servers.
    His position as district director of technology grew with it and gradually superseded his other duties.
    “At first they gave me relief time, maybe an hour a day,” he said. “Now it’s a full time job.”
    Fogliasso said that the Internet is the biggest thing in technology and education today.
    “Years ago, if you wanted information, you would go to the library and look in the encyclopedia,” he said. “I don’t even know if they have an encyclopedia in the library now.”
    Page 2 of 2 - He admits that some caution is needed, because some of that information on the Internet isn’t necessarily accurate, and suggests that teachers need to help students learn how to evaluate and select reliable sources of information.
    The district is now poised on the edge of a “one-to-one initiative,” in which every student in sixth through 12 grades would be provided with an iPad. Elementary students will have iPad cards which will be rotated from class to class.
    “All the iPads will be networked to the school,” Fogliasso said. “We have increased our band width to accommodate this.”
    Other technologies in which Girard has taken a lead include a fiber-optics-based InterActive Distance Learning Network, laser videodisks and telecommunications. Fogliasso also designed and implemented a WAN (wide area network) connecting multiple buildings with a wireless bridge, and designed and implemented a wireless mobil computer lab.
    “Girard is being known as being in the forefront of technology, not being afraid to take a chance in that area,” Fogliasso said. “Now, with the iPads, we’re leading the pack.”
    In 1993 Girard USD 248 was selected as one of the top three technology schools in the United States by the National School Boards Association.
    The NSBA selected Fogliasso to present sessions on small rural school technology use at national NSBA conference in 1994 at New Orleans and 1995 in San Francisco. He was the only teacher in the United States to serve on the NSBA’s Institute for the Transfer of Technology to Education Advisory Council.
    Fogliasso has held memberships in numerous professional organizations and served as president of the Mid-America Association for Computers in Education from 1996 to 1997. He was a charter member of the Girard Jaycees and a two-term president of the Girard Teachers Association.
    His many honors include the Pittsburg State University School of Education Outstanding Educator Award, Frontenac Outstanding Alumni Award and selected as a PSU Outstanding Young Alumni in 1989. He was also inducted as an honorary Girard alumni into the Girard Alumni Association.
    Fogliasso and his wife Christine have two adult children. He said that he has no particular plans for his retirement.
    “Technology has been my life,” he said. “I’ll have to find some new things to enjoy.”
    But that might include watching some “Star Trek,” especially episodes of his favorite series, “Star Trek: Next Generation,” and going to the new “Star Trek Into Darkness” movie coming out on May 17.
    “A lot of people confuse ‘Star Trek’ with ‘Star Wars’,” Fogliasso said. “’Star Wars’ is a fantasy, ‘Star Trek’ is a glimpse into the future. Just look at cell phones and communicators.”

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