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.
|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.|
|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.|