The Silicon Review
STS EDUCATION began its journey in 2001 to help schools and districts with limited resources acquire refurbished computers for their students to use. Since then, its portfolio of solutions has grown to include a variety of educational technology solutions from new devices and enabling technology to edtech strategic planning and operational IT services. As a comprehensive educational technology solution provider, STS Education helps its school partners create compelling K-12 educational experiences by helping them implement and integrate thoughtfully curated enabling technology, modern classroom furniture, IT infrastructure, and professional services.
Based out of Simi Valley, California, STS EDUCATION is growing rapidly to serve students, who are always at the core of everything it does. STS has expanded from a seller of refurbished devices into a full-spectrum integrated learning spaces provider. “We not only have devices, but we now also offer custom training and professional development for teachers and technology staff that our school partners need to create flexible, digital-first, and student-centered spaces for learning,” explains Marc Netka, CEO and Co-founder of STS Education.
We interviewed Mr. Marc Netka to know more about the innovation at STS EDUCATION and the company’s vision moving forward. Read on for the excerpts from the interview.
Q. How do you empower young people to grow?
By helping school leaders create engaging, innovative, and flexible environments for learning. Students are at the heart of our mission at STS – everything we do is about empowering the current and future generations of learners.
Q. What is experience-based learning? How do you deliver with this?
We help educators create environments that introduce students to the kinds of tools and workspaces used by “real world” professionals. Many of our most successful installations are in non-traditional settings such as Esports labs, media centers and makerspaces. Additionally, STS helps innovative school leaders create hands-on, minds-on learning experiences for diverse learners - from products and solutions focused on social and emotional learning to purpose-built spaces created in support of career and technology education.
Q. How important is technology to what you do and deliver as an organization?
Educational technology is the core of our focus. Helping schools effectively leverage the power of technology ensures that everyone in the classroom has the same experience, enriches teacher options, and guarantees that remote learners aren’t second-class citizens. We manage the deployment, management, and maintenance of sustainable technology initiatives to create solutions for K-12 learners.
Q. What does innovation mean to STS EDUCATION?
Innovation for STS EDUCATION means discovering, testing, and scaling innovative edtech products and solutions that help improve teacher effectiveness, increase student engagement, and enhance learner outcomes.
Q. What are the challenges of being in the education management space? How do you tackle them?
There are a couple of significant challenges- first; school districts usually have lots of funds. However, they struggle to choose optimal long-term solutions. That makes leadership hesitant to spend the money they need to ensure stability. The second is the disconnect between the solution provider and the product provider due to current supply chain issues. However, we’re well versed in working through these challenges due to our exclusive devotion to the education market.
Q. How was your experience working through the pandemic? Could you tell us about it?
Our school partners, like most K-12 schools and districts, were significantly impacted by the pandemic – with many charged with transitioning from traditional in person learning to 1:1 remote learning literally overnight! At the beginning of the pandemic, much of our work was focused on helping our customers acquire the devices needed to ensure continuity of teaching and learning – quickly and cost-effectively. Today, our focus has shifted to helping educators effectively leverage educational technology and edtech professional development to accelerate student learning and close skill gaps caused by interrupted schooling. Additionally, many schools and districts are partnering with us to “future-proof” their classrooms in order ensure instruction is engaging and accessible to ALL students whether they are learning in class or remotely.
Q. What does the road ahead look like for STS EDUCATION? Do you have anything new coming up?
This year, we will complete several acquisitions that will allow us to expand our product lines into new areas to provide even more comprehensive solutions. We want to be educators’ partners from idea to installation. These acquisitions allow us to be closer to our customers and serve them accordingly.
Marc Netka, CEO and Co-founder
Marc Netka is a strategic and driven business leader with a passion for education. As the CEO and entrepreneurial co-founder of STS EDUCATION, he partners with schools to enhance student outcomes and achieve education goals through technology. His journey in edtech started in 2001 as a home-based business providing refurbished computers to schools. Marc has expanded the company offerings to include complete solutions for modern learning and now has one hundred forty employees. For seven of the last 12 years, STS EDUCATION has been on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies. Additionally, Marc has led the company to be one of the largest resellers of interactive panels for education, as well as one of the largest suppliers of refurbished computers. Currently, Marc is engaged in growing the company to better serve schools, families and students, which are at the heart of the STS EDUCATION mission.
Spearheading community service out-reach programs to the K-12 community, Marc has been honored with the Pathfinder award from the Ventura County Board of Education. Marc is also a member and thought leader on the D&H K12 Education Advisory Board. Additionally, his strong belief in continual learning led to the creation of the STS Book Club, which has paid out over $30,000 in the last 10 years to his employees for reading books.
Marc has a BA from California State University and an MBA from Pepperdine University.