2012-06-15 / Front Page

Town names tech director

Manager says position is a ‘shared services model’
By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

Understanding that technology plays an important part in municipal and educational operations, Town Manager Tom Hall and School Superintendent George Entwistle knew finding the right person to oversee the technology services of the town and school was a crucial part in preparing Scarborough for the future.

Last week at the June 8 Scarborough Board of Education meeting, Entwistle announced Jennifer Nitchman has been hired as Scarborough’s new information technology services director.

Nitchman, a Scarborough resident, starts in the position on July 15. Most recently, Nitchman worked as the senior vice president/director of technology and information services for Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution. Before that, Nitchman worked in management positions in both the private and public sectors, including positions at Kennebunk Savings Bank, the state of Maine and Clarion.

In her new capacity, Nitchman will serve the technological needs of both the town and school system.

“This is a shared services model,” Hall said. “The information technology services director provides for the technology and information services needs of both the town and the schools. We think that is the best and most cost-effective way to provide the service.”

Nitchman said when she found out the information technology director position opened up, she knew she had to apply to work in a community she has come to love.

“I live in Scarborough. I love Scarborough. My daughter goes to school in Scarborough. I love Scarborough so much that I coerced my parents to move here from Bar Harbor. What’s not to love?” Nitchman asked this week.

“I am thrilled to come to Scarborough and be able to work in the community,” Nitchman later added. “Living in Scarborough and having a daughter in school there, we know a lot of people in town. It is going to be a nice change, I think.”

Hiring Nitchman, Entwistle said, is another example of the town and school administrations working together to better serve Scarborough residents.

“Both Tom Hall and I are pleased to be working so closely together to really find ways to continue the efficiency of the work that’s being done by the town and the schools and doing that in a way that has an eye on controlling costs while improving quality,” Entwistle said.

The position was originally advertised earlier this year, but failed to yield a suitable candidate. The search was reopened and Nitchman emerged as the best candidate for the job.

“This position touches every single aspect of the town and school operations in some way. Finding an individual that had the time and talent to understand the diverse needs of the town and schools and lead us in a direction so we can meet those needs, is huge,” Hall said. “Jennifer, in particular, stood out in the applicant pool. She has a great educational background and has held high-level positions in the banking industry. She has the organization and professionalism needed to lead (our technology) effort.”

“I am excited because I believe leadership and a clear vision is important to make sure we are directing our energy and resources in a direction that makes the most sense,” Entwistle said.

Nitchman, Entwistle said, will help the town and school system keep up on the latest in technology, an industry that is constantly changing.

“Technology is changing and in schools, technology is changing quickly. We have to be on the top of our game with this, so the investments we make are not going to go out of style the next year. They have to be investments that will sustain our vision,” Entwistle said.

One challenge Nitchman will face in trying to balance the technology needs of the town and schools is the fact that each entity uses a different technology platform. Hall said the town is PC-based and the school is Apple-based.

“That will be a challenge, but not one that will be insurmountable,” Hall said.

Hall said while Nitchman will oversee the town and school information technology needs, much of the focus will be on education, where technology is quickly changing.

“As I look to the future, the town’s technology needs will be minimal and much less than the needs of the schools, because of the advances in educational software and technology integration.”

Nitchman will help town departments and schools to choose the technology and software that works best for their individual needs.

“Making the right decision on what technology to invest in is really important,” Hall said.

A lot of what she does, Nitchman said, will have to do with making sure the technology that Scarborough does invest in is safe and secure.

“Things are really headed into a paperless direction. I see things moving toward cloud computing. I think with that comes a lot of safety and security concerns,” Nitchman said.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at 282-4337, ext. 237.

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