Nevin McKay Epp, an IT Service Desk Technician at Boulder Valley School District (BVSD), stands out for his technical skills and dedication to connecting with and empowering users. His diverse experiences have shaped his approach to IT support.
Born in Ecuador, McKay Epp attended elementary school in Colorado at BVSD’s own Escuela Bilingue Pioneer, followed by a move to Colombia for middle and high school. Returning to Colorado for college, his diverse journey broadened his perspective and understanding of various cultures and educational systems. His upbringing provided the foundation for his bilingualism which would serve him well in his future career.
Reflecting on his time in Bogota, Colombia, McKay Epp remembers the warmth of the people and the inviting community, “Colombians are some of the friendliest people I've ever met, acquaintances quickly become family.”
Now a Denver resident, he enjoys supporting local Denver sport teams (his colleagues say his knowledge of the recent Avalanche and Nugget championship seasons is unrivaled), and attending concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. An avid traveler, McKay Epp dedicates his free time saving and planning for new explorations. Currently, he's gearing up for a trip to Guatemala, drawn there by his mother’s roots.
After graduating from CU Denver, McKay Epp had the chance to return to his alma mater Escuela Bilingue Pioneer for a year as the registrar, working alongside some of his former teachers.
“It was definitely interesting having my teachers as peers, but it just made the experience that much more meaningful,” said McKay Epp.
Having spent significant time in Latin America and being fully bilingual, McKay Epp was able to effortlessly interact with parents and students in their native language, given a significant portion of the student body identified as Hispanic or Latino.
Drawing from his experience with education in Colombia, McKay Epp understood the challenges of navigating the U.S. education system, particularly for those who are not fluent in the English language.“I found it very impactful to assist a family navigate our education system— guiding them through the process.”
“I've always been my family’s go-to tech helper, fixing the tv and other small issues,“ recalls McKay Epp. His curiosity in technology prompted him to explore online resources during school, like YouTube tutorials which played a key role in developing his foundational troubleshooting skills.
McKay Epp sought to expand his technical skill set and decided to take an internship with a program called Climb Hire on their Salesforce track, an internship program dedicated to getting often overlooked talent skilled up to move into stable and high earning employment during the summer of 2022. At the end of that internship he took the position as an IT Service Technician at BVSD.
Traci Comerford, BVSD IT Service Desk Manager, praises McKay Epp’s relatability, having been in the shoes of the staff he assists.
She notes, “Nevin’s past role as a registrar and bilingual skills bring valuable perspectives to the team. His commitment to finding solutions, positive attitude, and teamwork make him a standout contributor.”
Describing the IT Service Technician role at BVSD, he extends it beyond issue resolution.
“We are the frontline of support for students, staff, parents, and community members navigating tech-related issues,” said McKay Epp. “From password resets to more complex issues like setting up Public Address Systems (PA) for a school.”
As education and schools increasingly rely on technology, McKay Epp is enthusiastic about BVSD’s commitment to being a leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI). He sees the potential accessibility benefits for teachers, staff, and students.
As a person with dyslexia, he says he faces challenges with grammar and sentence structure, which can make tasks like writing emails more time-consuming. AI, specifically chatGPT, has been a valuable tool for him, bringing his performance level on-par with neurotypical individuals.
Looking to the future, he anticipates AI playing a crucial role in bridging accessibility gaps, making tasks more efficient and inclusive for everyone.
McKay Epp says one of the best parts of his job is creating meaningful connections with the people he helps troubleshoot. His primary focus is on training users to understand how technology works, aiming to empower them with knowledge for future reference.
Chad Gray, BVSD IT On-Site Support Coordinator praises Nevin for a “rare combination of knowledge, patience, and compassion.” adding that “his personality is calming and puts people at ease.”
Emphasizing the importance of understanding users' perspectives, McKay Epps takes a non-judgemental approach, all with a goal of creating a supportive and personalized approach to IT service at BVSD.
“In my calls I focus on explaining solutions, while addressing the user with empathy,” he says. “If the person seems frustrated or embarrassed about their problems I try to give a supportive response like ‘let’s walk through it together’.”
McKay Epp was part of IT's support team for the BVSD Is the Place to Be Showcase enrollment event at the CU Events Center in October. His fellow IT colleagues say he worked nonstop to help every department and every school get online and prepared, as parents began to flood in (over 1,000 people attended the event).
“Everyone needed help, and Nevin as a part of that team hardly stopped moving the whole night — a smile on his face the entire time,” said Lisa Gefke, Infinite Campus Support Tech for Enrollment at BVSD.
“Nevin brings tireless energy and good will to his work every day - everyone contacting him, regardless of the issue, receives his best effort,” says Gefke. “He's fully bilingual and fully enthusiastic. Our district is so fortunate to have him.”