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IT Business Systems Analyst Supports NHA Teachers

Haley Brink  |  August 24, 2020

All positions at National Heritage Academies (NHA) impact the lives of our students, but some positions support our students by supporting teachers first. This is where people like Paula VanVeghel, information technology (IT) business systems analyst, comes in.

VanVeghel has been with NHA for almost 12 years and has worked in her current role for nearly seven years, though she spent time learning the ropes in People Services and Curriculum and Instruction in her first five years at NHA. As an IT business systems analyst, she has a unique impact on teachers that allows her to make their daily tasks easier.

She works on the myNHA Development team that is focused mostly on teacher-specific applications, including Attendance, Behavior, Curriculum, and Gradebook. Her team works with teachers to understand, design, and develop technical solutions that support the operations of our schools.

“Paula is a passionate and vocal advocate for the needs of our schools and brings that to life each day on the teams she serves,” said Andy Brownell, director of IT enterprise applications. “She has endless grit and is driven to go above and beyond to make sure we deliver the best possible outcomes for our teachers, students, and parents. Paula builds strong partnerships and is continually soliciting feedback from our school community to inform our decision making and help our organization improve.”  

VanVeghel is passionate about bringing the voice of users to the myNHA Development team “The software we build should work for them and not the other way around,” said VanVeghel. “I really enjoy diving deep and really understanding the full context of our end users, in my case many times teachers, and bringing that context back to the team so we can build software that allows teachers to spend less time in our systems so they can focus on what matters most.”

During the coronavirus pandemic, she has collaborated with a couple myNHA Development teams to develop solutions to support tracking information for the Virtual Select program and make adjustments to the Virtual/Remote Learning application they built back in the spring. Their work in this area ensures teachers have the tools they need to track information required by different states and authorizers as they adjust to the needs of the pandemic. ​​​​​​​

She is also involved in the behind-the-scenes work with one of NHA’s newest schools, Center Line Preparatory Academy. Unlike the kindergarten through eighth-grade model of many other NHA schools, Center Line will offer young fives through ninth grade in 2020, adding grades 10 through 12 over the next three years.

While working with Center Line, she has partnered with PrepNet, a sister company to NHA that includes a network of preparatory high schools whose mission is to prepare each of its students for college success. This partnership allowed VanVeghel to gather requirements, ideate on features, and test designs with high school teachers to validate features and grading reports needed for a K-12 model. Her team will continue to learn and adjust the myNHA software to meet the needs of the K-12 model once the school year has started and teachers start interacting with the applications.

“Typically when we build software solutions, I like to work directly with the people who will be using the software to gain a deep understanding of their needs and continue to adjust the applications we’re building based on what I learn from them on what is working well and what doesn’t quite fit,” said VanVeghel.

Keep up the great work, Paula!