This year, School Technology celebrated its 10-year anniversary creating innovative solutions to streamline day-to-day school operations for Skyward and its users. In this edition, School Technology president Dan Hoerl reflects back on his 30-plus years working in education technology.
I first entered the education technology industry in 1983 as a regional sales manager working in Chicago selling robotic training solutions. What I didn’t know then was that I would spend the rest of my life serving K12 education. In 1987, I moved on to a new company called Scanning Systems, based in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. We sold Optical Mark Read (OMR) scanning equipment, also known as #2 lead pencil “bubble sheet” readers. It was here I began building relationships with educational software companies offering Student Information Systems (SIS) and Financial Information Systems (FIN). SIS systems needing attendance, grade reporting and course request bubble sheets and the FIN systems needing checks, letterhead, envelopes, W-2’s, and other consumables.
Fast forward to 2001 when I started my own business under the umbrella of American Solutions for Business. That in turn led to the formation of School Technology Associates, Inc. which celebrated its 10th year in business in September. Next year, I will celebrate my 30th year as an exclusive partner with Skyward.
Little did I know that at a national education trade show in California in early 1992, meeting a few representatives from a company called School Administration Software Inc. (SASI) would lead to an exclusive partnership that lasts until this day. Those representatives were Scott Glinski and Kevin McFerrin. They introduced me to Jim and Jean King who would later found Skyward, Inc. Since then, I have attended multiple Skyward conferences around the country every year, nearly 100 in my career.
Our solutions have changed drastically from the initial offerings of OMR scanners with checks and forms, and now hardware and software solutions such as Tardy Kiosk, Positive Attendance, Time Clocks and more. Our product line continues to evolve based on the input we receive from Skyward users across the country. With all the changes I have seen in the education industry, the last 18 months have been particularly challenging, not only for K12 education, but for our entire world.
As an optimist, I believe these recent challenges have made all of us rethink how we can best serve and deliver education in new ways; in physical school scenarios, virtual models, and hybrid/blended methods. School Technology Associates has invested in helping schools accommodate learning in all these ways. In the big picture, with improved internet connectivity across America, education can be accessible and equitably distributed, allowing lifelong learning opportunities for all children and adults 24/7/365. Onward we go. Thank you for your business and your support throughout this journey.