Lauderdale County Schools recently lost a technology guru, loyal employee, and great friend to many. Mr. Robert Jeffrey “Jeff” Belton started his career with Lauderdale County Schools as a technology technician on July 1, 1993. This was his first official job in the education field. He began his career when technology was just barely surfacing in the educational setting. At the time, the “teacher computer” was a heavy, tan Macintosh computer complete with a green screen and foreign to many in the district. Jeff led the charge in Lauderdale County to equip our teachers and classrooms with Apple products. Countless hours were spent training and teaching staff how to operate and use the computers to enhance the learning experience for students. It was not as easy as he hoped it would be.
Years later, Jeff was instrumental in establishing Lauderdale County’s 21st Century Classroom Initiative. After presenting educational proposals, a core group of teachers were awarded 21st Century Classroom equipment and Jeff worked with these teachers to bring their ideas to life. Technology in LCS began growing exponentially as others realized the amount of research and educational activities that could be done. As Apple computers were purchased and placed in classrooms, Jeff began training and guiding staff to immerse them in the new world of Apple. As the years progressed, Jeff kept the district operating and growing for students. From one-to-one student laptops to classroom iPads, wireless network infrastructure to secure access for school buildings, and more, Jeff was involved in growing Lauderdale County’s technology footprint to what it is today. Jeff was instrumental in connecting the constantly growing field of technology to the field of education and beyond.
So, the next time you visit a school building and see a piece of technology, smile and know that “the guy with the ponytail” played a major role in getting it there.