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SERVING COUNTRY, SERVING SCHOOLS

November 11, 2019

By JAMES EVANS
Rutherford County Schools

You may have noticed Matt Parker working in various schools in Rutherford County or as a member of the coaching staff at Oakland High School. 

Parker serves as a computer technician for the school district, and one of his primary duties is to ensure WiFi networks are working efficiently to keep students and teachers online. 

“Smart watches, smart phones … it’s a digital world and everything needs WiFi,” Parker said. 

But most probably aren’t aware of Parker’s background in the military, and how his experience has made him a valuable staff member for Rutherford County Schools.

Parker is one of more than 125 current district employees who identified themselves as a military veteran, as part of a recent employee survey. The full list is included below. 

Parker joined the Army after graduating Oakland High School in 2002 and then attending Middle Tennessee State University. 

He served with the famed 101st Airborne division, and did two combat tours in Iraq. 

“My job was an all-source intelligence analyst,” Parker said. “We didn’t do a lot with computers, but we did do some stuff with signal intelligence. We gathered information through electronic devices.”

He added: “To be able to do that stuff, you have to have Top Secret security clearance, and so I can’t really say exactly how we did it, but we gathered information and intelligence off of electronic devices, phones, computers, any like that we seized off a detainee or someone brought in to us.

Parker was a member of a “Time Sensitive Target” team, he explained. They had to track targets using their electronic devices and to gather intelligence.  When a target’s device became active, they would respond immediately. 

“We had 10 minutes to be in full gear and be out of the gate,” he explained. “We went on those missions many times.“

After the Army, Parker worked as a private contractor with the Army. It was during this time that he gathered much of his experience with computers. He was “bounced” between two Army deployment stations, one in Louisiana and one in California. 

He worked with computers in the field and also trained soldiers how to use the equipment. 

He later, in 2009, went back to Iraq as part of another private contractor assignment, where he stayed in a palace that formerly belonged to the Saddam Hussein family. Parker served as a “politics analyst” and specialized in the Kurds in Northern Iraq. 

He joined Rutherford County Schools in 2011 after his father, who worked in the maintenance department, told him about a job posting in the Hardware Technology department. 

For the school district, Parker works with a team of technicians — cablers and techs — who maintain the schools’ data networks. It’s an important task, especially considering the school district has 50 campuses. 

“Whenever we place an access point in a classroom, we have to know how well that access point is going to propagate through these walls,” Parker said, while standing in Stewarts Creek High School.  “That way we know how to set the WiFi signal and strength.” 

When Parker joined the department eight years ago, he suggested they buy a special tool that is used to measure WiFi signal strength and to identify any interference.

Parker works with other technicians to do site surveys at each school to improve efficiency with the WiFi networks. If wireless access points are too close and on the same channel, he explained, they can interfere with each other. 

“At David Youree, the classrooms are in small little pods, and the walls, they’re not concrete, they’re all like drywall,” Parker said, as an example. “And so the WiFi signals were just blasting through there.” 

Parker was also part of a team that added more than 120 new access points at nine high schools during last summer. They also programmed switches and virtual controllers so they can monitor a schools’ network for problems in real time.

A project of that magnitude requires multiple people working in unison, Parker said, quick to acknowledge the other members of the hardware staff. 

It’s a mentality he learned from his former athlete days at Oakland, and of course, from his time serving the country as part of the Armed Forces. 

“It requires all hands on deck,” Parker said. 

 
 
Rutherford County Schools conducted a survey of employees earlier this month, and asked them to identify if they are a veteran. Following is a list of employees who responded, and we thank them for both their service to schools and to country. 
 
 
Anika Taylor  Blackman Elem Navy
James Christopher Hart Blackman High Army
Devon Inman Blackman High Marine Corp.
Eric Goslowsky Blackman High Army
Rob Eidemiller Blackman High Navy 
Robert Fortel Blackman High Air Force
Donald Walls Blackman High Navy
Sarah Fletcher Blackman High Army
Nicholas A. Traub Blackman Middle Air Force
Dustin Stem Blackman Middle Marine Corp.
Chip Thompson  Brown's Chapel Elem Air Force
Mike Farmer Buchanan Elem Army
Randolph Perkins Buchanan Elem Army
Shellie Dallas Cedar Grove Elem Army
Nick A. Horton Central Magnet Army
Stuart Leach Central Magnet Navy, TN Air National Guard
Michael Ruess Central Magnet Army
James Moore Central Office Air Force
Beverly Gorden Central Office Army
Shane Morgan Central Office Army
Chris Oakley  Central Office Army
Lisa Dougan Central Office Army
Kristofer Sweitzer Central Office Marine Corp.
Corey Mullins Central Office Marine Corp.
Jason Everett Central Office Navy
Doug Bodary Central Office Army
Matt Parker Central Office Army
Ricky Foster Central Office Air Force
Malcolm Martin Christiana Middle Army
Anthony Bragg Daniel-McKee Alternative Army
Saja alsheikh David Youree Elem Marine Corp.
Tonya Conde David Youree Elem Army
Bob Afticano  David Youree Elem Marine Corp.
Bob Africano  David Youree Elem Marine Corp.
Larry McMahan Eagleville Army
Karyl Paul Eagleville Army
Joel E. Rowlett Holloway High Air Force
Nathan Robison  Kittrell Elem Army, TN National Guard
Tina Duggin  Lascassas Elem Army
Dr. Rufus Lowe LaVergne High Army
Justin Smith LaVergne High Army
Joe Gill LaVergne High Army
LaTonya Jones LaVergne High Army
Douglas Capella LaVergne High Army
Jonathan Vandivere LaVergne High Army
Victor M. Sanchez LaVergne High Army
Robert G. Shirley LaVergne High Army
Pamela Carrethers LaVergne Lake Elem Army
Dr. Heather Sacharczyk LaVergne Primary Navy
Scott Coulter LaVergne Primary Army
Jeffery Benson Oakland High Army
Russell Rector Oakland High Army
Ryan Easterbrook  Oakland High Navy
Michael Daniels Oakland High Army
James Haynes Oakland High Air Force 
Ira Turner Oakland High Army
James R. Klaus Oakland High Army
Cristian Johnson Oakland Middle Army
Tim Layne Riverdale High Army
Michael D. Schwartz Riverdale High Army
Michael Campbell Riverdale High Army
Dallen Miller Riverdale High Marine Corp.
Derek Picklesimer Riverdale High Marine Corp.
Chris Freischlag Riverdale High Navy
James Elliott Rock Springs Middle Army, Air Force
Brian Davis Rock Springs Middle Navy 
Trudy Robertson Rock Springs Middle Navy
Joe Clark Rockvale Elem Navy
Alberto Ortiz Rockvale Elementary Marine Corp.
Eric Sacharczyk Rockvale High Navy
Jeff Pick Rockvale High Army
Robert Bailey Rockvale High Marine Corp.
Daniel Isgro Rockvale High Navy
Shawn Waldrip Rockvale High Army
Angela Benzy Rockvale High Air Force 
William Triplett Rockvale High Air Force
Jennifer Elaine Paris Rockvale Middle Air Force
Perry Louden Rockvale Middle Army
Richard Rorabaugh Rockvale Middle Navy 
Mark Logsdon Rocky Fork Elem Navy 
Bradley Johnson Rocky Fork Middle Army
Steve Jones Rocky Fork Middle Navy
Dawn Golson-Saunders Rocky Fork Middle Army
Roch Fulgenzi Roy Waldron Army
David Bradley Roy Waldron Army
Robbie Spicer Roy Waldron Army
David Spatz Roy Waldron Navy 
Jaron Pruitt Siegel High Army
Scott Boutte Siegel High Marine Corp.
John Y. Dusenberry Siegel High Air Force
Scott Myers Siegel High Air Force
James Thurston Siegel High Army
Teresa Hardwick Siegel High Army
Kyle Grisham Siegel High Marine Corp.
Roscoe Sanders Siegel High Marine Corp.
Rick Cing Siegel High Army
Keith Thompson Siegel Middle Army
Kevin Killion Siegel Middle Army
Richard Lutz Smyrna High Army
Michael Fain Smyrna High Army
Robert Drake Smyrna High Army, Air Force
Cody Clawson  Smyrna High Air Force
Dave Ingram Smyrna High Air Force
Christina Dawson Smyrna High Navy
Anoulom Phimphivong Smyrna High Air Force, Air National Guard
Carlos Webb Smyrna High Army
George H. Nelson Smyrna High Army
Dean Martin Smyrna High Ohio Army National Guard
Richard Jeffries Smyrna High Army
Jeffrey S. Boll Smyrna Middle Navy 
Bracken, Kevin Smyrna Middle Navy 
John Rydzewski Smyrna West Alternative Navy
Lee Farris Smyrna West Alternative Army
Victoria Duff Stewarts Creek Elem Air Force
Joseph A. Marco Stewarts Creek High Army
Joel T. Payne Stewarts Creek High Army
Joel Payne Stewarts Creek High Army
Michael M. Agee Stewarts Creek High Army
Timothy McKee Stewarts Creek High Army
Dr. Clark Harrell Stewarts Creek High Air Force
Loralyn Meadows Stewarts Creek High Army
Jeffrey Sobocinski Stewarts Creek High Army
Allen Kessinger  Stewarts Creek Middle Army
Emmanuel J. Lewis Stewarts Creek Middle Air Force, MS Air National Guard
Dwight Gray Stewarts Creek Middle Army
Brian Gentry Walter Hill Elem Army
Kelley Williams Walter Hill Elem Army
April Galloway Walter Hill Elem Marine Corp. 
Mary Sulligan Walter Hill Elem Air Force
Tammy Sue Caudle Whitworth-Buchanan Middle Army
Dennis P. Jungman Whitworth-Buchanan Middle Air Force, Air National Guard
Blake Grosch Whitworth-Buchanan Middle Marine Corp.