Blue banner with yellow and white outlined letters STS at the top and yellow and white words Student Technology Services established 2021 on a tech background.

Happy Belated Birthday STS! A Spotlight on the Student Technology Services Department

Two years ago in July, our Student Technology Services Department was born! After many years of partnership with a company called SkyQ, who previously oversaw all student tech, Visions decided to create its own student technology team in an effort to provide better service to our students and families.

“We basically said ‘Let’s build our own department’,” says Director of Technology Uriel Gonzalez. “We hired part-time staff, improved our delivery times and, because we were in-house, were better able to serve our families.”

Now, STS has two full-time and nine part-time employees, all equipped to manage student technology in conjunction with the IT Department. Brandon Neal, who is now the Jr. Systems Administrator on the IT team, was one of STS’ earliest members, and was instrumental in establishing and running the department in its early days.

“It was cool to be able to design a department from scratch,” says Brandon. “We re-examined everything we knew about how student tech was handled in the past. We also learned a lot as we went. You don’t really know how some things are going to function until you’re actually doing the work, so we had to refine some of the new processes.”

Nick Veret, who has taken the reins from Brandon and now serves as the Student Technology Supervisor adds, “I am committed to upholding the torch that Brandon has lit since the establishment of STS in 2021. My goal is to foster a culture of continuous improvement, encouraging team members to share and contribute ideas in order to continue optimizing our processes and workflows of serving and supporting our students on their learning journey.”

From left to right: Brandon Fan, Nick Veret, Sean Proctor and Brandon Neal

Meet the Team

For those of you who don’t normally get a chance to make it over to STS, let’s make some introductions! Currently on the team is Nick Veret, James Umiker, Adrish Hussain, Sean Proctor, Paul Venson Cagaanan, Brandon Fan, Yad Sandhu, Connor Puckett, Daniel Vega, Blake Sims and Lenny Muse, a former Visions student (check out his story here). As a team, they’re responsible for everything from providing technical support for parents and students, to preparing and shipping technology, to updating systems and processes.

“STS serves as the front-line support for students and their families,” explains James. “Like SkyQ before us, STS manages the school loaner computers through refurbishing, repairing and getting them into the hands of students. One of the best perks to having this resource available is that a working computer can be in a student’s hands within 10 minutes of them realizing that they need one.”

Some members of the department are students themselves, studying things like drawing and Information Science and Data Analytics. For most, the STS Department is a great starting point for their career, a chance to bridge a passion with a profession or just a place for a fresh start.

“I’m a transplant from Atlanta,” shares Adrish. “I actually applied while I was in Georgia before I moved, as I was looking to start fresh and minty after my move to the West Coast.”

For others, Visions was a welcomed change from their previous roles. “I came to STS fresh off the heels of working at Walmart,” shares Blake. “I moved over for a multitude of reasons, but the biggest one was a desire to feel like I was positively impacting peoples’ lives. I feel that is something many people want to do, and an important part of a fulfilling job. Everyone wants to make an impact.”

Sean adds, “I came to Visions after deciding I wanted to pursue a different career path. My prior work history has been mostly in retail sales, but my passion has always been computers and technology.”

For Paul, a future storyboard artist, STS is an opportunity to explore his interests. “I have been interested in both art and tech, so landing the Student Technology position presented a great opportunity to dip my toes in tech and IT support.”

From left to right: Blake Sims and James Umiker

Five members of the STS team stand outside the STS building and smile for a picture.

From left to right: Connor Puckett, James Umiker, Paul Venson Cagaanan, Yad Sandhu and Lenny Muse

Five Star Service

Since its formation two years ago, STS has continued to prove especially valuable to Visions and our families. James, who recently stepped into his new role as Student Technology Support Specialist, is excited to see where the department will go and how he can help continue its success.

“We are always striving to improve our processes to make the student tech support experience as approachable, knowledgeable and efficient as possible,” says James. “Not everything we help with is related to the actual physical computers. Sometimes all that is needed is an explanation on how a website or program works, and we are able to use our extensive experience to help explain things in an easy and understandable way.” 

Brandon Fan adds, “I feel like the STS team is relaxed and hard-working. Even when our tasks get hectic and pile up, we are able to stay calm and finish all of our work for the day.”

When asked to describe the team in one sentence, Lenny couldn’t choose between “The chances of a Chromebook being returned with Excalibur stuck in it are never zero. Legend tells of a chosen one who will find and use this holy, techy blade to smite all computer illness” and “The most entertaining, engaging and worthwhile tech-oriented position one might ever take part in.” If that doesn’t say it all, we don’t know what does.