Director of TechnologyNew York University, BA
email: sean.freese [at] sonomaacademy.org
phone: (707) 636-2469
Like many of our students, Sean is a “glorious mash-up” who defies being pigeon-holed. Because he’s our Director of Technology, many people assume he majored in computer science, but his degree is actually in Anthropology and Linguistics, and his career has led him to work for a variety of nonprofits and government organizations. This background informs Sean’s nuanced approach to integrating technology into our curriculum; he employs a philosophy that goes far beyond practical instruction in the use of specific hardware and software, encouraging students to take a human-centered view of technology, thinking critically about its social and cultural implications.
Growing up in Orange County, Sean felt a bit like a square peg in a round hole. At his large public high school, students tended to stick with their cliques. Sean was curious about many different things; “When it came time to go to college, I decided I wanted to go as far away as possible!” he says. New York City seemed like a place where Sean could explore his wide range of interests surrounded by unique people, so Sean enrolled at Eugene Lang, a small liberal arts college connected with the New School. He later went on to transfer to NYU and graduated from there.
Post-college, Sean worked for an Oakland-based non profit that refurbished donated computers and gave them to students. He relocated to New Orleans, where he worked for the Office of Public Health doing systems administration work. After Hurricane Katrina, Sean was pulled back to New York, where he worked for five years as a Director of Technology at a k-12 independent school in Long Island.
It was marriage and family that inspired Sean to apply to work at Sonoma Academy. “I didn't want to be dragging strollers up and down the subway!” he says. “Sonoma County seemed like a peaceful and beautiful place to settle!” Since joining our staffulty in 2011, he has been tasked with all things tech, from managing network infrastructure to fixing computers and printers to helping with technology-based projects. He loves helping teachers thoughtfully integrate technology into every academic discipline, from Humanities to Visual Arts to STEM and everything in between.
“What sets Sonoma Academy apart from other school is our focus on relationships,” he says. “The adults have really solid relationships with the students, the students have solid relationships with each other, and the school has a solid relationship with its community.”