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Educational Service Unit #13


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ESU13 Technology Dept Profile

  ESU 13 Technology Department Mission and Vision:



To provide technology, distance learning, media support and training to ESU #13 Staff and Member Schools.



To proactively foster mission-critical technology to improve student learning and organizational effectiveness.


Essential Elements:

  • Meets their technology needs
  • Integrates technology in the classroom
  • Supplements curriculum and instruction
  • Enables efficient communication and life-long learning over distances
  • Provides professional growth opportunities to staff and communities


Services/programs currently provided:

  • System maintenance and support
  • Hardware and software support
  • Internet access and support
  • LAN manager training and support
  • School librarian/media specialist training and support
  • Technology training
  • Digital content support (OverDrive, Learn 360)
  • Computer network design and management
  • WAN/LAN/Wireless network design, installation and support
  • Disaster recovery support
  • Network security support
  • Technology planning and consulting
  • E-Rate program consulting and support
  • Distance Learning maintenance, coordination, and scheduling support
  • Learning Management Support
  • Google App Support
  • Blended Learning
  • Digital Citizenship and copyright training
  • Virtual field trip facilitation
  • Single Sign-On, Nebraska Portal, and ADVISER support
  • Grant management


Department History:


The ESU 13 Technology Department provides hardware, software, and network support to staff members of ESU 13 and to the ESU 13 member schools. In 1993 the Nebraska legislature passed LB452 mandating that Nebraska’s Educational Service Units provide tele-computing resources to schools.  At that time, the panhandle ESUs formed a consortium of Panhandle Educational Service Units (PANESU) in a cooperative venture to share resources and build what has become the largest computer network in the panhandle.  PANESU accomplished our goal of Internet access for each of our member schools. ESU 13 staff provides system maintenance and support, client support, anti-virus protection, and backup/restore. ESU 13 has the expertise to provide the technical training to meet the demanding needs of a technology-enriched educational environment.

In 2009, ESU 13 and its member schools connected to Network Nebraska, the statewide backbone. The process involved converting all of our schools DS-3 video circuits to Ethernet data circuits, aggregating most of the traffic at ESU 13. By 2013 over half of the ESU 13 member school districts have increased their data circuits above the original 40mgb circuit capacity to meet increasing demand for bandwidth.

ESU 13 hosts the Western Nebraska Distance Learning Consortium.  This originated in 1998 as part of a Nebraska Excellence in Education grant.  The grant connected 12 high schools and has since expanded to include all of the high schools in the Nebraska Panhandle.  It now also encompasses two ESU sites and two colleges, WNCC and CSC. The entire DL system was upgraded in 2009 to IP video technology. There are now 25 static DL rooms and close to 50 mobile DL carts.




     BJ Peters - ESU #13  Director, Technology/Distance Learning/Media



  • Coordinate technology services for ESU #13

  • Coordinate day-to-day scheduling & technical support of DL system

  • E-Rate support

  • With ESU #13 since 1998

  • BS from Wayne State 1976

    • MA from UNL 1998

     Ben Mientka, Internet Services Coordinator   


  • Coordinates tele-computing resources to ESU #13 member schools    
  • Main contact for Internet Access

     Eric Kemsley – ESU #13 Network Administrator  


  • Design local area networks
  • Implement and monitor network security
  • Install and expand new facilities
  • Optimize and maintain network software and hardware
  • Provide school district LAN support
  • Wireless network design & installation

     Craig Hicks – Technology Integration Specialist


  • Blended Learning training in member schools
  • Open Source resource development
  • Technology Integration into classroom
  • Google Apps Support
  • 1 to 1 Integration Support
  • NEVA Instructor Support

     Lori Biesecker– ESU#13 Technology Integration Specialist


  • Blended Learning training in member schools
  • Technology Integration into classroom
  • Google Apps Support
  • 1 to 1 Integration Support

     Maggie Bernal – ESU#13 Media Specialist and COOP Purchasing Coordinator



  • Media support and production for ESU13 member districts and  ESU staff.