Mike Carioscio has been on many job interviews throughout his career in information technology, but none like the one he had at Oak Park and River Forest High School this spring.

“In corporate America, when you come in for an interview, it’s one-on-one. So I walk in and there’s like 19 people in this big room,” says Carioscio, the school’s new chief information officer. “I’ve been in this business a long time and it takes a lot to rattle me – I was rattled. It was a room full of people and I wasn’t prepared for that. I stopped and said, ‘I have to tell you guys this is a little intimidating to me.’ So I guess that’s how they do things here when they interview.”

The group, which Carioscio admits might have numbered fewer, consisted of students and faculty members. Carioscio said he liked that they all were active and involved in the school and in his hiring.

The post he stepped into this summer is new at OPRF, one created by Superintendent Attila Weninger. Carioscio oversees the school’s technology systems, which means he manages how data is disseminated in the building. He’s responsible for both equipment and processes.

The collection of student data in certain areas, such as discipline, wasn’t always done efficiently or accurately, Weninger had noted in creating the CIO post.

Carioscio has spent his first few months on the job getting to know people in the building and the school’s systems. The parent of three OPRF alums and one sophomore, the River Forest resident is no stranger to the school. But this orientation, he says, still has been a bit overwhelming.

He’s working his way through departments, talking with staff members about their needs. Those discussions have included checking in with classroom teachers about what equipment they require to best do their jobs. He pointed out that while a math instructor, for instance, may like to write on an electronic tablet that projects notes on a screen, a science instructor may not use or need such a device.

“Those are just two examples,” Carioscio said, “but then there are other examples – what do world language teachers want to do, what does the English and history department want to do? When you come in this building, every classroom is a little bit different, and I’m not sure that the departments all have the same needs.”

To create the position for which Carioscio was hired, duties were shuffled for other administrators who were directly or indirectly involved with technology. The position of assistant superintendent for operations, which was held by Jack Lanenga, has been eliminated. That office, which includes the buildings and grounds department, is now overseen by the chief financial officer, Cheryl Witham. Lanenga, who ran operations for nearly a decade, now primarily oversees coordinating classroom scheduling, a responsibility he had in his previous post.

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