Meet James, based in Wellington NZ and a maths teacher before joining EP. He’s been with EP for six years, and like many EPeeps, has had more roles than years of service. This includes Maths Brand Manager, Head of Mathematics, Content Manager, Head of EP New Zealand, Head of Content and now Head of Product.
What do you actually do?!
Is ‘attend meetings’ a useful answer? I do a fair amount of that, but my actual job is WAY cooler than that sounds. I get to work with schools (usually teachers and school leaders, sometimes students) to figure out how EP can help to improve the teaching and learning experience.
I work with a team of 10 product managers and designers who guide the development of the platform, and with a small team of subject leaders who do anything from subject guidance to marketing to teacher training. It’s a hell of a talented bunch and I’m super privileged to work with them every day. I also work with the rest of our awesome leadership team – we work well together, with a perfect mix of challenge and support as required.
What is your favourite bit of your job?
I love being able to work with those around me to together do awesome things. Pushing people to the edge of their comfort zone and then supporting them to break through to the next level of their capabilities and confidence. I am particularly fond of the quote ‘if you are the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room’ – surround yourself with awesome people and lift each other up.
Typical day? Who do you interact with?
My typical day involves doing a half-hour blitz of clearing emails and planning my day, then heading out to drop my daughter and son to school. I often have a head-down hour or two to get a bit done as the Aus-based crew starts their day, then middle of the day is often where we have our various check ins. Afternoons will often be free to have calls with external folk. I have always worked from home in my time with EP, so this world of remote-working is very familiar. It’s fair to say I do a lot of Zooming/Meeting/Slacking. One luxury is being able to go for a walk around the block some days during meetings – sometimes even with the dogs.
What does being an EPeep mean to you?
It means a hell of a lot. I’ll be forever grateful to founder Craig Smith for offering me my dream job back in 2015, and it’s only got better every year since. Our EP crew is such a talented and diverse team; I’m constantly impressed at the work we all do. To be working together towards a common goal of supporting student learning is what keeps us so tight-knit and focused, even during the stressful times.
What’s EP Studio all about? Why are you jazzed about it?
To quote my colleague and friend Tim Vaughan, it’s a game changer. EP Studio gives teachers the ability to use EP’s world-class content authoring tools to make engaging and effective resources for their students. They can modify EP’s extensive Library of content, or create from scratch. The icing on the cake is the ability to share these resources with others, and to use resources that other teachers have created.
What is EP for Home all about?
To be honest, the name is a bit of a giveaway. EP for School is EP’s core product, that is used by schools and teachers with their students. EP for Home on the other hand is a product launched early 2020 that can be used directly by parents and their child(ren), or by adult learners. Two things I’m super excited about for EP for Home:
- Getting EP into the hands of more learners
- Future developments to increase student agency and engagement, that will be directly applicable with EP for School as well
What’s your future vision?
EP in the hands of learners worldwide – no financial, technological or accessibility barriers to anyone. A community of educators working together to support each other with expertise and resources. A generation of students better off for having used EP.
Some quirky questions:
- What’s one thing that surprised you when you began working at Education Perfect? That we worked in what felt like a student flat. We’ve moved on a bit since then, with a sweet head office in Dunedin and satellite offices scattered around ANZ and beyond.
- What’s your favourite way to unwind after a busy day? Dinner with the family, walking the dogs, having a gin, watching some Netflix or playing a board game.
- What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend? Attending children’s birthday parties. They are relentless. When time allows, heading up the coast to my in-laws beachside homes and just completely unwinding.
- What book are you reading now? Tom Sherrington’s “Rosenshine’s Principles in Action” (for about the fourth time). It’s such a revelation to have such an impactful collection of research distilled down into one easy-to-read, practical handbook.
- What’s your secret talent? I got second in the EP fancy dress party at the end of 2019.
Disclaimer: I’ll be honest, this is my second EPeeps article in the space of 18 months. Seems a little self-indulgent. But in the last one I had a different job and we were all wearing buttoned shirts. Life moves fast.