In April 2013, a massive explosion erupted in the town of West, Texas, claiming 15 lives, destroying 120 homes and damaging 200 additional houses across 37 blocks. The fertilizer plant blast was earth shattering, registering on seismographs as a 2.1-magnitude earthquake and shaking homes 50 miles away.
 
Three out of four campuses in the West Independent School District (ISD), along with the majority of the auxiliary and support services facilities were ruined. The network data center burned, completely destroying student, educator and staff history, information and records.
 
In the aftermath of the disaster, Charles Mikeska, assistant superintendent at West ISD, went into action, taking leadership responsibilities in accounting, maintenance, food service, transportation, facilities and Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS), all the educational data requested and received by the Texas Education Agency. While working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reconstruct the district’s physical infrastructure, Mikeska worked with Skyward to rebuild nearly all of their data in record time. 
 
“Success was in the logistics of providing temporary campuses and getting all the services back up,” said Mikeska. “We could not have survived the data restoration had it not been for Skyward.”
 
West ISD utilizes every aspect of Skyward’s services, taking advantage of both the Student Suite and Business Suite. Using the software on a daily basis allows the district to be innovative with its operations such as developing a way to use the procurement system to reserve and charge for buses and vehicles. West ISD has also eliminated between eight to 10 software devices in the process of conversion, which saves the district time and money.
 
“The district is fortunate to have a partnership with a vendor of this high a standard,” said Mikeska. “Skyward is an integral part of West ISD.”
 
In addition to his administrative leadership at West ISD, Mikeska is involved in Boy Scouts of America and Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO). Skyward is proud to honor Charles Mikeska as a Leader in Excellence.


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