Inside ECS – DJ Rhoades, Tech Services

At the age of 12, DJ Rhoades bought his first computer. Soon after… he broke it. Taking it to a repair shop, DJ gained his first experience with computer repair and technical understanding. This proved monumental for his future.

As Elkhart Community Schools’ Tech Services Manager, DJ is dedicated to supporting technology in order to help kids reach their full potential, his work helping teachers and students to focus less on the distraction of a broken piece of tech, and giving them more time to benefit from exploring and learning through the help of a device.

“Kids today have access to so much technology,” said DJ. “We can write an equation on a white board, take a photo with our phone, and instantly have the answer to the equation. In today’s society, kids can Google something and instantly have a world of information at their fingertips. The amount of knowledge they can gain is amazing, and our 1:1 technology initiative is going to provide even more opportunities.”

DJ’s dedication to kids is something that continues to motivate him, both professionally and personally. Together, with his wife Tisha, a first grade teacher at Roosevelt STEAM Academy, DJ is the proud parent of three foster/adopted children.

“My wife and I love being parents. We love helping kids who may have come from less than ideal situations, and showing them what it means to have a loving family. Too many times, we see adults making decisions that are in the adult’s best interest. Being a parent to children who have faced adversity, we’re always aware of their perspectives, of understanding what each of our children needs.”

DJ met his wife in a US History class at Goshen High School, and “the rest was history”. Together, they enjoy traveling with their family to Wisconsin to visit Tisha’s family. They have three kids – a 7th grader at Pierre Moran, a 1st grader at Roosevelt, and a four-year-old, who enjoy swimming, gymnastics, and ninjastics.

DJ is also a volunteer on the Elkhart County 4H Fair Board. He’s always loved the fair and likes being involved with one of the largest fairs in the country. “It’s fun to see kids being so excited, showing off their skills. People have misconceptions about the fair and what it means for kids, thinking it’s a quick and easy thing for kids to do. So many of the 4H programs really help reinforce values, hard work, and morals. It’s a huge deal to the kids who participate.”

As for now, DJ and his team are chugging along with the usual beginning-of-the-year technology challenges. “With the 1:1 initiative and the growth of technology in our district, we’re at a level of devices we’ve never been at before. We always have a flood of technology issues at the beginning of the school year, and it helps to have a great team alongside me to help solve problems and tackle issues together.”

It’s the problem-solving and teamwork aspects of DJ’s position that most appeal to him. “I’m really lucky to work with great people. The challenges we face keep us on our toes, and it’s fun to have different challenges every day. I’ve always been the type of person who sees a problem and wants to fix it. Working with this team to solve problems we’ve never seen is incredibly rewarding.”

DJ is currently reading: The last book DJ read was to his kids at bedtime – 5 Little Monkeys Go Shopping by Eileen Christelow. The last series that caught his attention was the Harry Potter series.