A new IT teacher will be coming into the fold at California High School for the upcoming 2021-22 school year.
Lance Boyd, who formerly worked in the communications and electronics technology field for the Missouri National Guard, said he is eager to share his knowledge with the students of California.
After retiring from a 20-year career in the National Guard due to a knee injury, Boyd said he wanted to find a job that would allow him to continue his work, as well as spend time with his wife and children.
"I retired from that and wanted to do a job where I could continue to serve the community and yet have more time with my family than I had with my previous job," Boyd said. "I started to think about teaching and contacted some of the administrators here because I kind of knew some of them because I have kids in school. One thing led to another and they helped get me started on the path to how I need to get certified as a teacher."
Boyd jokingly said he might be the oldest full-time rookie teacher this year. As he prepares for the year, he said he is thankful for the IT certifications he received. His time in the National Guard gave him the proper experience he needed to teach the subject, Boyd said.
"During my 20 years with the military, that's what I did," Boyd said. "While I was in the communications and electronics technology field, I received all kinds of IT certifications including micro soldering repair and fiber optics repair. I got to work with everything from satellite technologies to high frequency radio technologies to computer tear-downs and rebuilds. You name it, I was able to do it."
It is important to note that this is not Boyd's first year as a teacher. Last year, he was able to teach technology to students attending California Middle School. Working with a different set of students each quarter, he said he had great fun instructing students with hands-on computer work as he taught them courses in 3D printing.
"I had them add on with 3D modeling," Boyd said. "We were designing different buildings in the town of California — different structures, cars and houses. By the end of the school year, we had a 3D-printed version of the town of California. It was a really cool project and the kids really enjoyed it. They were really getting some hands-on experience with some advanced software, understanding 3D design, AutoCAD, and then getting to see it come to life."
Boyd said the class explored a wide range of subjects regarding computer science. Tearing down and piecing back computers and cell phones to demonstrate how these devices operate, working with advanced software, and many more technical lessons were taught to students. He said it was a good opportunity for students to establish a beginning knowledge of IT and for Boyd to understand what the age level could handle.
As the school year began to wind down, Boyd met with some of the district administrators to talk about creating a technology program at the high school. This would establish a secondary level to developing a career in technology and computer sciences for students that wish to enter the field.
"I talked with the administrators and I talked with Mike Moon, who's our IT expert with the school district, and we sort of hatched the idea of offering CompTIA A+ certification," Boyd said. "That certification is recognized as an entry-level IT employment certification. If you get this certification then you can go get a job. You can go on indeed.com, search for CompTIA A+ and it'll show you the jobs where people are specifically requesting this certificate, even accepting it in lieu of a college degree in some instances."
Boyd said he is very excited to begin teaching the Computer Applications course at CHS. With the district setting up technology programs in the elementary, middle and high schools, they now have a complete computer and technology program that Boyd said he believes students will be able to use both in and outside of their careers.
"I'm so pleased the school district saw this opportunity and that we're seeing it through," Boyd said. "We will have built (a technology program) that's K-12 and we are getting kids real hands-on electronics and IT experience to where they're going to walk out the door with their high school diploma, and potentially another certificate where they can say, 'let's go to work.'"