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Saturday, Sep 20, 2014
Carrollwood News

Jesuit grad returns as director of information technology


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TAMPA - It's been 22 years, but John Caballero has finally found his way back home.

The 1991 graduate of Jesuit High School is returning to his alma mater after a long journey that took him to the University of Notre Dame, several more schools, and then 12 years as a teacher at an Episcopal school in Columbia, S.C. But his heart belonged to Jesuit. So when he heard that the school's director of information technology position was open, he jumped at it.

"It's a lot different than when I was here,'' Caballero said. "Things have changed but the Christian teaching is what it always was and the principles are still the same. It's nice to be back home.''

Of course, a lot has changed since Caballero roamed the halls of Jesuit as a student. Computers were barely on the teaching radar then, and the Internet, well, who knew? Caballero not only knows computers inside and out, he knows how to incorporate them into a curriculum. And while he's concerned that computers are taking too big a role in education, he feels that teachers will always be needed.

"Once I decided to get started I wondered how to use technology to be more efficient in teaching,'' Caballero said. "How do you take all of the things we have available to us and make it work without affecting teaching?''

If computers take over for teachers, how does it affect current teachers? Caballero has some ideas.

"We have tools to enhance the teaching experience now,'' Caballero said. "But our generation didn't grow up like this. We all had teachers who we can look back to and say that they changed our lives in some special way. We need teachers in this world, so we have to balance the technology with teachers and it is a tough line to walk.''

He also warns that, while today's information age is a lot different and more accessible than it was 22 years ago when he was a senior at Jesuit, there is still a big difference.

"I get concerned that we are going too far and it is going farther,'' Caballero said. "We know schools need to adapt, but you have to remember that something being different doesn't always make it better. Things might have changed, but the core mission of school is not something that can be taught on the computer.

"Our mission at Jesuit is to educate men. We want to teach them how to be good Christians and stewards of others. No matter how advanced we get in computer technology, the core mission at Jesuit will never change.''

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