Technology Information Center for Administrative Leadership



Jack Jarvis


Jack Jarvis
Principal, Hidalgo Elementary School
Fresno Unified School District

Watching Jack Jarvis roam the schoolyard at Hidalgo Elementary School, it’s hard to guess that he was once an aspiring musician and learned his love of computers while recording music for his rock band back in the 1980’s. He was intrigued by how the computer—a Macintosh II—could mix the sounds from the keyboard with the drums and other instruments. As his “day job” was teaching elementary school, Jack decided to explore the lone Apple II that was in his classroom. Using a six-dollar cable from the hardware store, he connected the computer to a television so his students could watch what he was doing on the Apple. The children quickly took notice. “They loved seeing what I was doing on the computer,” he remembers. “The movement and color were immediately interesting to them, no matter what the content I was teaching.”

Jack’s enthusiasm made him a natural leader when his school received a grant to become a magnet for technology, science and math. He spent the next three years implementing the magnet grant, helping teachers see the power of technology and encouraging them to use new tools in the classroom. This experience helped show him the importance of mentoring. “My whole philosophy is about getting teachers up to speed so they can present the information in the best manner possible,” Jack explains. “Technology is the one thing that can save the education system from extinction, but too much money is spent without considering who is going to use the equipment and for what purpose.”

One of Jack’s most satisfying moments as a principal was when he observed the classroom of his most computer-phobic teacher and found that she was using several kinds of technology, such as wireless Interwrite™ tablets, to engage her previously disinterested students. As Jack explains, “The hardest thing is to get people to change their teaching behaviors, but if you nurture them, even the toughest resistors can become outstanding examples for the rest of the staff.”

Jack Jarvis with hockey teamBeyond his priority of focusing on technology for professional development, Jarvis also uses technology for his own productivity. For example he uses Microsoft Excel® for financial planning and management tasks. “Our categorical budget is really complicated,” he explains, “but using Excel, I can make sure that we don’t let one penny of our money go to waste.”

A bit of a Renaissance man, Jack is not only a musician, but also an avid athlete. After a knee injury curtailed his football playing, he took up skating and started to play ice hockey. Over the past 17 years he has played in over 500 games! While a recent shoulder surgery sidelined him from the ice for a few weeks, he relished the opportunity to compose some music. Jarvis enjoys all of his hobbies, and in fact, proclaims, “If you don’t like to have fun, you should get out of education!”


Profile Index