Debra Rath, operations manager for Educational Service Unit #3, La Vista, Neb., has been recognized as an Operational Efficiency Pacesetter in SunGard K-12 Education’s Lead without Limits Awards Program. From nominations from educators and school administrators from across the country, Rath was selected as the individual who best leverages technology to improve the efficiency of school/district processes.
The Lead without Limits Awards Program recognizes school districts, schools, departments, administrators, and educators that leverage technology to improve student achievement and/or school or district efficiency. Operational Efficiency Pacesetters create opportunities for strong productivity by creating initiatives that use technology to make things better, cheaper, quicker, and/or more effective.
In 2012, Rath successfully coordinated the deployment of SunGard’s eFinancePLUS financial and human resource solution for 11 Nebraska school districts supported by the Educational Service Unit. Under her leadership, the districts have increased their use of the solution and improved their operational efficiency. Prior to the rollout, Rath created a detailed project plan and implementation timelines for each district. This project plan created the context for identifying issues that needed troubleshooting in order to keep the implementation on track.
As districts have become more confident in their use of the financial and human resources software, Rath has supported their increased effectiveness by scheduling regular meetings to demonstrate and review functionality of modules that they aren’t using. For example, after Rath’s training, Elkhorn Public Schools distributed its purchase order process, increasing the efficiency of purchasing.
“Elkhorn Public Schools has gone from one administrative staff person entering all purchase orders to distributing this entry to each individual school,” Rath explains. “The principals at the schools then do the approvals and the purchase orders are sent out from the central office. The number of users for purchase orders has increased by 36 in Elkhorn alone.”
Rath also led the deployment of Cognos in all districts. As part of the deployment, Rath and her team have automated thousands of reports so the districts can reduce their paperwork and increase their focus on improving student achievement. Thousands of Cognos reports have been created, and many of them have been automated to run on a daily/weekly or monthly schedule, reducing staff time to run the reports.
Educational Service Unit #3
Educational Service Unit #3 is a Nebraska political subdivision providing educational programs and technology services since 1966 to 18 public school districts in Cass, Douglas, Sarpy, and Washington counties. The school districts range in size from 23,000 students to 350 students, including suburban and rural districts surrounding the Omaha area. ESU #3 is the largest of 17 ESUs in Nebraska and serves more than 77,000 students and 5,000 professional educators.