Why a Chicago superintendent launched his own company
All the paper used to track student internships and community service hours, and other college and career information, inspired a Chicago-area K-12 leader to launch his own company.
David Schuler, superintendent of Township High School District 214 in Arlington Heights, Illinois, recruited a tech-savvy district graduate to help him start Transeo. The cloud-based service provides educators with a one-stop tool to keep records of students’ internships, community service hours and other workplace experiences. Transcripts can then be sent to colleges and potential employers.
But, considering that superintendents are pretty busy people, how does Schuler find time to run an internet startup?
“For me and for most superintendents, you can be super effective and efficient as long as you segment your time,” Schuler says.
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A key to his success has been to keep his school board aware of his entrepreneurial endeavors. And he used vacation time when the company came online in July 2019.
Also, the school board has agreed that from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Schuler has family time. He helps his children with homework and takes them to sports events. After 8 p.m., he checks work email and responds to urgent messages, and then turns his attention to his company.
Because he’s not an expert programmer, he recruited a former student to code for the website. Transeo integrates with all learning management and student information systems.
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“What was cool about building the company was engaging with a graduate who got inspired to do computer programming while he was in the district,” Schuler says.
Transeo, which now has customers in 13 states, also has equity components. It can map cities and towns to show students the closest internships, community service activities, and other workplace learning opportunities.
It can also track demographic data, such as how many female students chose a STEM work experience. And it can keep public officials and employers up to date on students’ career interests.
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