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NetDay Press Releases

April 5, 2001

NetDay Honors Heroes For Leadership At Fifth Anniversary Celebration

Sally & Jim Barksdale, Susan & Scott McNealy,
and Utah Governor Michael Leavitt Among 2001 NetDay Heroes

Launches National Campaign on Leadership in Education & Technology

Irvine, CA -- On March 31, 2001, NetDay ( celebrated its fifth anniversary of connecting children to technology by honoring individuals who have been leaders in education and technology. Additionally, the organization launched the NetDay Education Technology Leadership Campaign, a new national effort building on NetDay's awareness-building legacy to support educators and school leaders and to help them address the technology challenges facing schools and educators today.

During the 5th Anniversary Family Celebration held at The TECH Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA, NetDay honored Susan and Scott McNealy and Jim and Sally Barksdale for their commitment and innovative solutions in technology to support education. Sun Microsystems was also recognized for their longstanding and continuing support of NetDay nationwide. Also recognized were: Utah Governor Michael Leavitt for making education and technology a top priority for his administration; Linda Roberts, former Director of the Office of Education Technology, US Department of Education, for elevating the dialogue about the importance and value of education technology to a national level; and, Julie Young, Executive Director of the Florida OnLine High School, for her work in transforming teaching and learning through online education.

"NetDay is a first-class organization committed to improving the quality of children's education through the use of technology," said Jim Barksdale, founding partner of The Barksdale Group. "This is a great endeavor, and the NetDay crew has accomplished much in the last five years. Sally and I are honored to be recognized by a wonderful group that shares our goal of creating a literate workforce."

Five years ago, when NetDay held its first "electronic barnraising" event in California, only 14% of schools and 3% of classrooms were wired. On this first day, over 50,000 volunteers wired 1/3 of the schools in California. Since then, NetDay wiring events have continued to happen around the country and world connecting every child to the Internet. According to NetDay's survey released in conjunction with the 5th Anniversary, today 97% of teachers surveyed said they had Internet access in their schools and 80% had connections in classrooms. Yet, eight out of ten teachers believe that computers and access to the Internet improve the quality of education and 75% percent say the Internet is an important tool for finding new resources to meet new standards.

Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Mae Schunk offered her congratulations to NetDay in a statement. She said, "The challenge to keep schools current with technology will never end. However, the NetDay story was more than just wiring schools. The NetDay Effort brought focus and attention back to the schools. Parents and community members were called to action. This resulted in a surge of volunteerism and resources for our school communities, which benefited the students in the classroom."

Earlier in the day, leaders from education, government, business and the community gathered for NetDay's National Leadership Summit on Education and Technology. The Leadership Summit was an opportunity for leaders to exchange ideas on how to best support school leaders in their efforts to use and integrate technology. NetDay's announced additional, state-level Leadership Summits are being planned in California, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi for the fall of 2001.

"Five years ago the challenge was access. Today, we know the challenge is how to help teachers use the Internet," Julie Evans, CEO, NetDay stated. "NetDay is embracing this new challenge and through the Leadership Campaign, we are starting a new dialogue around leadership in education technology so everyone can be more understanding and supportive of how to help educators effectively use the Internet in instruction."

Those attending both events received a copy of NetDay's celebration report, "Five Years of Connections," a collection of success stories from NetDay events around the country. The report gathers real stories NetDay from state leaders, educators and communities' organizers who helped bring Internet connections to their school via NetDay wiring events. For example, as NetDay Coordinator in Houston, TX, Anne Meyn explained that "people continued their involvement with training, repair work, and made an ongoing commitment to schools. Our schools wanted to be in the 21st century and the NetDay volunteers made that happen."

About NetDay
NetDay (, a national, education technology nonprofit, continues to connect every child to a brighter future by helping educators meet educational goals through the effective use of technology. Founded five years ago, NetDay connects people by creating environments where the magic of learning for all participants - students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members - is enhanced with appropriate technology resources. Through, NetDay helps decision-makers in K-12 schools maximize technology investments, and in NetDay Digital Divide communities, NetDay staff helps schools in empowerment communities with all every element of education technology.