Welcome to The National Education Association’s (NEA) 95th annual “American Education Week” which is an opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring every child receives a quality education. The teachers, teachers’ aides, administrators, etc. But as Konica Minolta’s national solutions manager for the education and government markets, and as a New York University adjunct professor, I’m privy to the lesser-known administrators and companies who make a difference in school districts behind the scenes – the unsung heroes – and I want to take this opportunity to honor them.
Who are they? The purchasing managers, IT specialists, and the people at the innovative companies like Konica Minolta who continue to expand the boundaries of learning and bring exciting new solutions to our classrooms for both teachers and students. I grow more and more excited when I learn about a person or new product that made a huge positive impact on either students or teachers – or both. Like . . .
The Center for Hands-On Learning, a non-profit organization in Rio Rancho, NM, that creates popular learning kits sold worldwide, which allowed Konica Minolta to not just address their growing printing volume, but was open to our sales team’s proposal to add 3D printers to their kits. This allowed many schools to provide an innovative technology to their students that it hadn’t offered previously, greatly enhancing the students’ learning experience.
Palo Verde Community College District of Blythe, CA, whose staff needed features that would greatly enhance their productivity. Their wish list included printing, scan to email, faxing capabilities, the ability to track and monitor print usage by department for chargeback purposes, and the ability to scan a PDF into other applications so the document could be edited. The district responded by choosing the Konica Minolta bizhub C654e configured with PrintPath, a print management solution, and ScanPath, a capture and route solution. This gave the staff more quality time to spend teaching their students than daunted with time-consuming document management.
And Dan Distrola, the purchasing agent for the Rialto Unified School District (USD), in Rialto, CA, who inherited very costly and unreliable copiers upon his hiring and made it his mission to stop the monetary bleeding and excessive downtime that was hurting the teachers and office staff. His decision to purchase Konica Minolta bizhubs saw the high reliability of the units significantly improve the district’s capabilities such as scanning and color scanning. It has also provided an improved and easier flow of documents to the print shop via RSA’s QDirect, which integrates with Konica Minolta bizhubs and allows school staff to scan and submit their jobs to the print shop right from the bizhub’s control panel. This convenience is priceless for teachers and administrators who need to create and print colorful lessons or mandatory paperwork as part of their job responsibilities.
The tagline for this American Education Week is “Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility.” According to the NEA, the tagline reflects its vision of calling upon all Americans to do their part in making public schools great for every child so that they can grow and achieve in the 21st century. And I’m proud to recognize the individuals and be part of one of the companies who are doing just that.
Stephanie Keer is responsible for Konica Minolta’s Education and Government vertical markets, focusing on solutions that improve efficiencies in education. She is a Professor at NYU and the Lead Researcher of Living Values Education Organization. She is an avid scuba diver and meditator.