Whalen retires after years of ARHS technology help


Priya Maraliga

Technology Systems Administrator Sue Whalen will retire after 15 and a half years at Algonquin helping with technology and network issues.

Tisya Singh and Srishti Kaushik

After 15 and a half years at Algonquin, Technology Systems Administrator Sue Whalen decided to leave her job for retirement. 

Whalen managed the technology at Algonquin, working with the systems, organizations and networks along with fixing technological problems that occurred. She is familiar with all kinds of technology platforms, in particular, Zoom for this school year.

Before Algonquin, Whalen spent many years in the technology field. She did a higher level study computer science and math, graduating as a software engineer. After having kids, she took a similar technology job at a school in Shrewsbury before eventually ending up at Algonquin. 

“[It] seemed like a natural thing to do because I knew how to deal with computers, and I like technology,” Whalen said. “This way I could also work with people. I like helping people, and I knew that [being a technology systems administrator] was something that I’d like to do.”

Instructional Technology Specialist, Brian Calnan, has worked alongside Whalen for the past two to three years after transitioning from the math department. Although they have separate specialities within the technology field, the two of them have gotten to know each well during their time working together.

“She is super well organized and pays a lot of attention to detail, which is very important in the work that she’s doing,” Calnan said. “She is also hard-working and really selfless in terms of putting other people first [with] what they need and helping them.” 

According to Calnan, Whalen is very social and interactive with the people she meets with on a daily, constantly striking up casual conversation. 

“When people would come down with questions, very rarely would it be… ‘Here is my computer question. Fix it,’” Calnan said. “There was always conversation; you knew that she cared about people, and they felt the same way about her.”

Having worked together for the time they did, Calnan and Whalen became accustomed to relying on one another for their jobs. 

“There are a lot of things that I’m going to miss, but the number one thing is knowing that I could count on her to do pretty much anything,” Calnan said. “We would always bounce ideas off of each other, and having somebody to talk through our thought process was helpful. We understood one another.”

Whalen had many plans of vacationing and volunteering during retirement, but they have been put on hold due to COVID-19. Instead, Whalen is looking forward to some roadtrips with her family and is eager to have more time for her personal hobbies.

“I like to read, I like to sew and do a bunch of other things at home,” Whalen said. “Ideally when COVID’s over, I would do some volunteering just to get out and be with people.”

Helping others is an important part of Whalen’s life and has also taken up a large aspect of her position at Algonquin. Interacting and socializing with others have been one of Whalen’s favorite parts of her job. The community has played a positive role in her life that she will miss greatly.

“Good staff. Good school. It has been a great place to work,” Whalen said when asked about a parting message.