Brawley – With the memory of a steel trap, Teri Sanders recounts with amazing detail the course of ICOE’s K-12 High Speed Network program over the past 14 years. The Chief Operating Officer of the state-wide connectivity program that is based at the Imperial County Office of Education explained in great detail the enormity of the network. The K-12 HSN was created in 2004 after receiving a $21M state grant to help connect California’s educational institutions (K-12 schools, community colleges and Cal State and UC campuses) to the internet with high speed fiber optic lines. The work has progressed with additional state funding and now involves state-wide staff trainings and additional fiber optic connections for California’s most remote school communities. Since its inception, ICOE’s K-12 HSN program has managed over $125M in state funding for educational connectivity, all run out of the second floor of ICOE’s building B at the Sperber Road campus south of El Centro.
The Brawley native joined ICOE back in October of 2000 after spending a short time with the Westmorland Union School District as their Chief Business Official. Prior to that, Sanders’ resume includes a variety of jobs that for many would be careers in and of themselves. Coming from a family with roots in agriculture, Sanders obtained a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and accordingly spent time after college working in the ag industry. But law school was next and then a promising career as an attorney in San Diego and later Imperial Valley.
The switch to a career in education has fit Sanders nicely. Her role on the leadership team at ICOE has been beneficial to the institution. Much of the recent organizational culture changes and mission focus at ICOE has been influenced by Sanders, who simply offers that, “I’m not smart enough to be afraid of things I don’t know,” quipped Teri when asked about her leadership role at ICOE.
On a personal note, Sanders fills her calendar with community involvement in the classic sense. A member of PEO, Teri also is an active leader in the local Presbyterian church. Her husband, Paul, works for the Sony Corporation specifically with the PlayStation 4 platform, one of the top gaming systems in the world. Teri’s daughter, Erin, is married and lives in San Diego with her husband and Teri’s new granddaughter Maya!