Ellen Brown: 'MPUSD is such an important part of the community'
Assessment and Student Information System Specialist
Monterey Peninsula Unified School District
When Ellen Brown became a half-time textbook technician and half-time mail deliverer for the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District 16 years ago, computers were not available for every students. Little did Ellen know, her foot in the door at MPUSD would lead to coordinating the district’s state assessments.
Back then, students were taking state assessments by pencil and paper.
“Hundreds of boxes would be delivered to the district and then distributed to school sites. Students would take the tests and we would collect them and send them back to ETS for scoring,” says Ellen.
Ellen loves coming to work as one of two district data integrity specialists.
“There is always work to do here in the district. I personally feel it is important work even though it is behind the scenes. We are supporting teachers, site administrators, district administrators, board members, community members, and stakeholders. They all need easily accessible data to allow them to do their jobs, plan for the future and make big decisions for the district,” says Ellen.
For a short stint, Ellen served as program secretary for Educational Services before overseeing the statewide assessments. Today, her role also includes managing the district’s student information system, Synergy. She, along with her colleague Brian Schoenfelder, monitor a help desk and throughout the day they take calls from classified staff who may need help in the system, teachers who need help with grade book, or an administrator who may need help with scheduling.
“That is really fun,” she says. “I come from a background of customer service, my colleague Brian and I like to help people, and at same time we are working on projects to improve practice and problem solve.”
One of the big projects she and the team are working on is moving the district toward online registration.
“It has been one and a half years in the planning stage and is about to launch next week (early July),” says Ellen.
Ellen did not grow up in the area, but she feels strongly that MPUSD is such an important part of the community.
“It really touches so many families. It brings us together. I believe that public education is so important to give to all families. When we are all doing our job behind the scenes or face to face to families we are all making our community better,” she says.
When she is not at the computer, which is all day long and every day during the work week, she enjoys walking, being outside and spending time with her family. Ellen’s husband, in-laws and children grew up in MPUSD schools, and she grew up in Arcata, California before attending Chico State and San Jose State.