TRAILBLAZING BTJ TEACHER LEAVES A LEGACY OF INNOVATION

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“I never gave up on a student,” says newly-retired Shlomo Serok, the award-winning Boys Town Jerusalem instructor renowned for changing the face of Israeli technological education.

The nearly 2,000 BTJ students Serok has taught over the past 40 years, leaders in hi-tech, IDF, education and Israeli society, are vivid proof of the faith he placed in them.

Named Israel’s top Computer Science & Networking Teacher for 2019, Shlomo Serok is legendary for blazing new educational horizons. Yet his own personal story is an epic in courage: A grave combat injury during his IDF reserve duty plunged the young university student into a painful 18-month hospitalization. During his grueling rehabilitation, Serok returned to his BTJ high school alma mater to work at odd jobs in the administrative office. Fatefully, this coincided with the school becoming one of Israel’s first to acquire a computer. Within a short time, Serok learned the basics of programming, computerized the school’s administrative needs, and gradually moved to teaching.

The rest, indeed, is history. Thanks to Serok’s initiative, in 2000 BTJ became the first school in the Middle East to be designated a CISCO Network Management Program instruction center, which he headed for two decades.

In 2010, BTJ was selected as the nation’s first and only high school to offer a major in Oracle’s Open Source Operating Systems, under Serok’s direction. Several years ago, he pioneered Israel’s first Project-Based Learning (PBL) curriculum. His prestige inspired the Prime Minister’s National Cyber Bureau to select BTJ to pilot an advanced cyber security course, where our students ultimately placed top in the nation.

Throughout his nearly four decades at BTJ, Serok worked from 9 AM till 7 PM, volunteering his afternoons and evenings to tutor students in the hi-level Software Engineering and Internet Technology & Computer Networking programs he headed. His students proclaim that Serok’s boundless faith provided them the wherewithal — and the personal example — to excel.

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