Introducing Our New Schools Sector Lead: Chris Thackray

We are incredibly happy to share with you all the latest addition to our fab team!

Let us introduce you to our new Schools Sector Lead, Chris Thackray. Chris is bringing with him a wealth of experience from a stellar career which has so far seen him working at St Paul’s Girls SchoolWimbledon High School and Kensington Prep School, to name a few! Chris had shared a few words with us on his journey so far and on his latest adventure – working with Hable.

Let’s meet Chris in our short interview…

Hi Chris! Can you tell us a little bit about your background. What drew you to a career in education?

I never intended to work in education, I actually found school quite a challenge (I was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia in my 30’s, which explained many of my issues). After university, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and ended up getting a job as an IT technician in a school. Less than a week after starting, I knew that it was exactly where I wanted to be. I loved the fact that if I did my job well, lessons happened and kids learnt.

A few schools later, I found myself working as a Network Manager in a Prep School and began to get far more involved in the application of the technology. In this role, I was helping to provide lessons on teaching skills and looking at how best we could support the way teachers taught and students learnt. I earned a place on the school’s Senior Leadership Team and had a number of roles during my time there. One I really enjoyed was Director of Assessment (I built a new assessment system from the ground up and ended up presenting what we had developed at conferences). I also earned my Certificate in School Business Management at this point in my career. I wanted to better understand how schools work from end to end, and this was a great way to learn.

Career highlights so far?

One highlight that stands out has to be the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ project I did at Wimbledon High School. I was set the challenge by the Head to take the school from a place where no students used tech in lessons to a place where technology was being effectively used to support learning across the school. We rolled out Office 365 and OneNote to all staff and students using SDS and various other tools. All subjects had class Notebooks and departments had staff Notebooks. Walking around the school at the end of the project and seeing lessons taking place supported by the tech was so satisfying. The school was made a Microsoft Showcase School as well during my time there. The school has gone from strength to strength since I left, and that is what I am most happy about. The change I started was not reliant on me to continue positively impacting the way the whole organisation worked.

That, and teaching GCSE computer science at St Paul’s. I was lucky enough to work with some amazingly bright students, when they got their results after taking their exams I couldn’t have been more proud of them.
 

Tell us a bit about your move to Hable. What attracted you to the company?

Throughout my career, I have worked to focus not on the technology, but on the people and the impact the tech can have on teaching and learning. This really mirrors the approach that Mark has championed at Hable and which is now completely ingrained in the company through its values.

Over the years I have worked in Education, Microsoft have completely changed how they approach the Education sector. I really believe that the tools they make available through Office 365 can provide the basis for really impactful educational tech projects.

This combination of values and tech I really believe in makes Hable the perfect place for me!

What are your aspirations going into Hable? What impact do you think we can make within education?

I’m really excited to be working at Hable. I can’t wait to start helping schools with their strategy and how they can best make use of Office 365. Over my career I have seen that so many schools do not make the best use of the tools they already have, I can’t wait to be a part of changing this. I want to help make Hable the go-to partner for any school thinking of developing their use of Office 365. Wherever they might be in their journey, we can help.

Working in Education is really a passion for me, I know this is an overused phrase but it really is. I have loved every part of my career so far and I’m sure this new phase at Hable will be just as exciting. I’m so lucky to be working with people who share my passion and I can’t wait to get started!

We are so excited to see how Chris’ journey with us unfolds. He will be joining us at the Bett Show this week, so if you have any questions he will be at our event on the Sunborn Yacht this Friday all day – sign up here to register your attendance.

To get in touch with Chris, you can follow him on Twitter @christhack

 

A few facts about Chris…

Educational background: Graduated with a degree in Computer Science from Cardiff University

Favourite Microsoft product, tool, technology: OneNote and Microsoft Teams

Favourite book: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein

Website I check everyday: Engadget UK

Favourite childhood memory: Playing football in the street outside my house with my friends

Best advice you’ve received: Do what you love and love what you do

 

“I have loved every part of my career and I’m sure this new phase at Hable will be just as exciting. I’m so lucky to be working with people who share my passion and I can’t wait to get started!”