Early on in her career, Barbara Schiffner moved frequently, from Southern California to Minneapolis to Sacramento to Orlando to Ontario, Canada. But something brought her back to California.
“It was family that was calling me. I had been away from my nuclear family,” says Barbara, who grew up in a military family where relationships are tight and reliance on and support for family members is crucial because of the frequent relocations. “I also wanted to get back to an industry where I could make a difference, and in education that’s true. You make a difference in students’ lives and kids’ lives.”
Today, she is helping to make that difference as Executive Director, Technology for the Twin Rivers Unified School District and as a Board Member for the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium (SECC).
“The SECC has helped Twin Rivers specifically by our being a participant in the BESTNet program,” Barbara says, “and helping guide us in our fiber projects and just being there for us — a support team for us.”
BESTNet is the ultra-fast fiber network that connects all of the schools in Sacramento County to the Internet. BESTNet, short for the Broadband Education Services Technology Network, allows Sacramento’s 13 school districts and 245,000 students to access online curriculum, electronic tools, and digital video content at 100 Gigabits per second. That’s faster than most Fortune 500 companies!
The BESTNet system, launched in 2003, has been spearheaded by SECC, the Sacramento Metropolitan Cable Television Commission, Comcast and the Sacramento County Office of Education.
Regarding Twin Rivers Unified’s fiber acquisition efforts, Barbara says, SECC has been a strong partner that has helped ensure that the school district published a request for bids that included all the requirements we needed “to provide what we need today, and be able to scale up in the future.”
Barbara’s personal K-12 experience involved attending Catholic school in Ventura all through high school.
She remembers one teacher in particular, an outgoing, adventurous nun named Sister Mary Carlin who taught her fourth grade class at Our Lady of Assumption: “She was a younger woman, and I remember her putting on her white tennis shoes and taking us hiking through the hills of Ventura. I would be thinking, ‘Here is this young woman who has dedicated her life to her calling but she was also a person with other interests.’”
Barbara went on to study at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with an emphasis in Computer Science.
Looking toward her future at Twin Rivers Unified, Barbara says she sees the partnership with SECC continuing to flourish, especially as work continues toward building out the dark fiber network.
Want to contact Barbara? Write to her at email@example.com