Alumnae/i Feature

Araceli Hintermeister ’16MA, '16MS Moves from Archives to Knowledge Management

“I help connect our resources to all the schools in our network,” says Araceli Hintermeister ’16MA, '16MS, Knowledge Manager for Uplift, the largest public charter school system in Texas and one of the largest in the U.S. “The central management office at Uplift has resources on operations, child nutrition, curriculum and instruction, talent management and acquisitions. We provide a lot of what the schools need on a day-to-day basis.” Uplift covers 21 campuses, varying from K-12, with 42 individual schools.

Before joining Uplift in 2019, Hintermeister worked in special libraries, including America’s Test Kitchen. “They had a physical library, and I worked with a team to create resources. That was my introduction to knowledge management,” she recalls, though now she is managing mostly digital records and must fulfill requirements of the state as well as serve her patrons. “It’s rewarding to see people using the tools that I’m producing, or when I hear that it solves a problem on the user end.” And she is always keen to hear what others experience. “As a knowledge manager, you need to listen to the people using your resources and accommodate them.. Not everyone has the same level of technology savvy. I have to take a step back and remember to consider the patron experience”

In 2020, her work became even more digitally-based. “Our school districts are in-person. No one was teaching remotely until last year,” she recalls. While Uplift schools have largely been able to remain open for in-person learning, Hintermeister explored other opportunities for remote operations. This included creating virtual talent acquisition and onboarding resources for new employees “We had to think of how to onboard someone remotely, to limit exposure. We are in person but we want to use remote opportunities when available.”

One of Hintermeister’s favorite projects at Uplift has been the Well-being team, a resource library of social and emotional learning practices. “The teachers integrate social and emotional learning through a warm greeting, a movement activity, and an optimistic closure at the end of day,” she says. “We have always had some level of social/emotional learning in our schools, especially in regards to discipline issues. We want to think of the factors that lead to the behavior, instead of just punishing the behavior.”

The Well-being team constitutes a shift in thinking, and puts more focus on consistent mental health practices. “When I was young, We only focused on mental health when we were stressed or panicked, when we really needed it. What does it mean to implement those practices day-to-day? How do we use it before we need it, to support mental health? Not only as an emergency tool, but a lifelong tool.”

But how did her degrees in archives and history prepare her for this role? “Archives management may seem narrow and focused, but I got a lot of exposure while at SLIS,” she says. “I took a User Experience class and a digital records class. Even though I did pick my lane, I still had the ability to explore and discover new things.” Though her internships were focused on archives, she got a broader view of the field. “My advisors at the state library told me about knowledge management and records management. That opened my eyes, seeing what was out there. Everything I learned at Simmons was marketable, complementing my skills and allowing me to shift my focus.”

Her willingness to explore wasn’t limited to the classroom – Hintermeister was also an active member in many clubs during her time at Simmons. “I tried things I didn’t know whether I would like,” she recalls, “so it’s important to try and be flexible.” As a member of SOCS, the Progressive Librarians Guild, and SLA, she found value in the career and networking opportunities the clubs provided, as well as leadership experience. “A lot of the projects we did required project management and taking the lead in things,” she recalls. “I would often look back on that, and on my internship [at America’s Test Kitchen] — how did I do that proposal? How did I break down that project on a timeline?”

Beyond her role at Uplift, Hintermeister continues to pursue interests outside her career. She is also a co-founder of Books on the T, a campaign to promote literacy across the Boston metro area by sharing books on the MBTA. “We took a pause because of the pandemic, due to the higher cleaning protocols on MBTA, but we hope to resume in the future.”

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