August 5, 2021 by HCDE-Texas
Enthusiasm, tenacity, and resourcefulness are only a few of the qualities coworkers attribute to the change agent transforming professional development for Harris County Department of Education (HCDE).
Cindy Tan, HCDE’s information technology training coordinator and employee of the month for August 2021, began working at HCDE in December 2020. Her role was created out of the vital need to equip employees with the tools and knowledge necessary to work in a virtual environment.
She wasted no time, and just a month later, she kicked off her first Microsoft Teams training while leveraging HCDE’s existing resources.
Since then, Tan has provided employees access to LinkedIn Learning and created several training series such as “Techie Thursday,” “IT You,” and “Munch & Learn.” She continuously seeks innovative ways to add value to these trainings through Microsoft subject matter experts, corporate-sponsored lunches, door prizes, and sessions hosted by executive leadership.
“To date, we’ve trained over 900 people at zero cost to HCDE,” said Tan.
Her most recent and ongoing project is the first-ever “Virtual Tech Day,” which will be held on Aug. 13 for over 150 teachers from HCDE’s special schools. Charles Ned, HCDE’s senior director of schools, noted Tan’s commitment and humility in seeing this plan through.
“Cindy Tan took full ownership of this project and constantly updates me on progress,” he said. “Working with Cindy on this project has allowed me to better understand how resourceful, creative, and reliable she is. She works well with staff from other divisions, takes pride in her work and shies away from accepting credit.”
Tan has 13 years of experience in education and corporate training. During her time with ExxonMobil, she worked with soon-to-be retirees during a six-month period to collect and preserve their knowledge in an “evergreen document” for future hires.
Before her journey into education and corporate training, Tan received a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance and worked as a financial analyst. However, the late hours made it too difficult to be present in her five children’s lives.
Tan decided to pursue a teaching certification and eventually earned a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in integrating technology into the classroom from George Mason University.
“That’s when I found my niche,” said Tan. “I thought, ‘I really like this.’”
Since then, Tan has never looked back. She enjoys a fulfilling career that feeds her professional passions and, in her spare time, loves to play piano, cook for her family, travel, run marathons, and garden an array of vegetables which she often shares with coworkers.
While she is honored to be the employee of the month, Tan says the job is the real reward.
“Teaching students planted the seed, and now I’ve come full circle,” she said. “Now I get to do what I do, and I love it because I get to train teachers who in turn plant new seeds. I come to work full of zeal.”