Douglas L. Culler
Network Systems Supervisor
Shenandoah County Public Schools
Oh How Far We Have Come
A Video Tribute to Doug Culler
Created by Tim Taylor
Click here to watch video.
Doug Culler, Network Systems Supervisor for Shenandoah County Public Schools, has been selected as the 2012 Region IV Educational Technology Leader. Region IV, one of eight school regions in the state of Virginia, is comprised of fourteen counties and five cities including Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and the city of Alexandria, localities all having school divisions much larger than Shenandoah County.
Tim Taylor describes Doug Culler as the “visionary leader in the development of our division-wide technology infrastructure.” Taylor, Instructional Technology Supervisor for Shenandoah County Public Schools, has worked closely with Culler for the last sixteen years. According to Taylor, “our current network infrastructure and support are well respected” among schools divisions across the Commonwealth. Taylor credits the work of Doug Culler for this distinction.
As a child growing up on a dairy farm on the Antietam Battlefield (Maryland), Doug could not possibly have envisioned the strategic role he would play years later in a Virginia public school division. Doug graduated from Heritage Academy, a private Christian school, and earned an AA degree from Hagerstown Community College and a BS in Business Administration from Frostburg State University.
Culler’s earliest work was sorting and loading packages for UPS. He went on to manage the ticket building for the Whitetail Ski Company and then was hired as a computer operator and Systems Manager for Upstart Library Promotions. Just prior to his employment with Shenandoah County Public Schools, Doug Culler was a computer operator and Information Systems Specialist for Washington County Hospital.
In 1996, Culler was hired as Network Coordinator for the Shenandoah County Public Schools. With Culler at the helm, the school division’s technology infrastructure has grown from ten LANS (local area networks) in 1995 to a WAN (wide area network) in 1998 to a fiber optic WAN in 2002. Shenandoah County Public Schools’ own webserver was brought online in 2003. SIF, a data sharing system that allows various programs to “talk” to each other, was initiated in 2006. VMWare, which is server virtualization, was implemented in 2008. During 2008-2009, the entire technology infrastructure was upgraded, and all schools gained wireless capabilities. And in 2009, ZenWorks, which remotely manages network and electronic devices, was implemented.
Under Doug Culler’s leadership, multiple tasks and operations that were previously paper/pencil have been automated including attendance, report cards, grade books, library systems, bus routes, cafeteria payments , Special Education records, job applications, requests for maintenance and technology repairs, SOL testing, and the list goes on. Every classroom has a computer that is networked with Microsoft Office. Discovery Education streaming and many educational databases and programs that correlate with and offer support for math, science, social studies, and English are available to all classrooms.
During the summer months, Culler has directly impacted Triplett Tech students through his summer intern program. Interns, who are students from Triplett Tech’s network courses taught during the regular school year, assist SCPS campus techs with maintenance and upgrades and thus obtain practical experience in an area which may later become their career.
Doug Culler also established Shenandoah County Public Schools’ Technology Advisory Group, which includes a representative from each school and the administrative technology staff. Via teleconferencing, the group meets monthly to discuss technology-related topics affecting the school division. The Technology Advisory Group collaborates with teachers and students to help division leaders make sound technology decisions. This shared process imparts a feeling of ownership to everyone involved in technology decisions. The implementation of the Technology Advisory Group has “dramatically increased” communication between the schools and the central office Technology Department.
Doug Culler’s kindness to others is apparent in all his leadership roles. For example, Culler supervises a network administrator and three campus technicians who provide the infrastructure, services, and technical assistance to ensure that Shenandoah County Public Schools’ many devices such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, printers , etc. work properly. These employees respect Doug and appreciate their “family type” work environment, an atmosphere evident to everyone who enters the Technology Department at the School Board Office in Woodstock. One of Doug Culler’s colleagues has said, “Doug is able to explain and assist in such a way that I never feel inadequate regarding technology, even though, compared to him, I am quite inadequate.”
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality,” said Warren Bennis, pioneer in the field of leadership. Doug Culler, our “visionary” has done that—often behind the scenes. He and his team have envisioned and created a network system capable of supporting the hardware and software that Shenandoah County students, teachers, and administrators need in order to succeed. Helping students and employees achieve their highest potential, reach for that which is just beyond their grasp, is always the highest goal of the Shenandoah County School division.
Doug and his wife Lauren are the proud parents of two daughters, Emma and Mary. The family lives near Woodstock, Virginia.
Note: Information for this article was from taken from Doug Culler’s nomination form for the Regional Technology Leadership Award and is used with permission of Tim Taylor, the author of that document. Debbie Swecker and Debbie Litten assisted with the editing of the nomination form.