Implementation Specialist Desmond Seymour has experience working in multiple capacities across the education space—in charter schools, as a football coach, an after-school programming director, and advising young parents—and is deeply familiar with the experiences and challenges of teachers, administrators, and district leaders. At Allovue, he helps districts strike a balance between creating a strategic plan and allowing for flexibility when unforeseen issues (think: COVID) arise during the implementation process.
What were you doing before coming to Allovue?
I’ve worked in education for a long time, in multiple capacities. I worked as a Dean of Culture at a charter school in Brooklyn, and then as an after-school STEM director in Washington, DC, where I ran a program to get young folks interested in biological and chemical science, math, and engineering.
I was also a football coach, and had two or three guys who were becoming young fathers. That led me to set up Doula for Dad, where I worked with young men on the road to fatherhood, preparing them to be supportive partners. I loved my work with these young men, and also learned a lot about starting a business, the process of incorporating, and directing operations. We worked with public and charter schools in NYC, so I also worked with the Department of Education, which taught me a lot about working with districts and budget offices.
What’s your role at Allovue?
I am the Implementation Specialist here. My work is mostly focused on getting districts set up, making sure that they have all their information imported into the modules, making sure that all of the modules are set up in the way that they would like—kind of troubleshooting the entire implementation process.
Implementation involves many, many people across our company and the district. With the Data Implementation Manager, I make sure that we get everything set up, focusing on creating a change management strategy, so that we have all the pieces aligned to ensure that our plan mirrors and improves the current budgeting process or financial management process.
What skills serve you best in this role?
In implementation, you have to be flexible: You have to be able to change to fit the customer, but you also have to have a structure in place that allows you to have some guidelines for how you proceed. That is a strong suit of mine.
How do you see Allovue’s impact?
Being able to say, “Here is a clear picture of all of your dollars,” and then being able to respond and adapt and adjust or correct course—that's been amazing.
There’s almost a direct correlation between an intense focus on finance—a dedication to making sure that funds are allocated and distributed in a thoughtful way—and the success of students. I have found that when a district focuses on tying strategies and priorities to spending—not just dotting the i's and crossing the t's to have dollars in the right spot—it translates to student growth and achievement.
Have you developed a pandemic hobby?
When I listen to music I put on my big Beats headphones and I sit in my chair, have some tea, and I zone out for about 20 minutes. I’ve been listening to Natureboy Flako, he makes music that is really beautifully layered with these odd, interesting sounds—it sounds prickly. And I really like that.
I have gotten into making little pieces of music, just recording sounds and doing some looping to create ambient or lo-fi music, using my iPad and an SP-404 sampler. And that’s been fun.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Allovue works with districts and state departments of education across the country to allocate, budget, and manage spending. Allovue's software suite integrates seamlessly with existing accounting systems to make sure every dollar works for every student. Allovue also provides additional services such as chart of accounts and funding formula revisions.