Making IT Happen: Barry Pace
Making IT Happen: Barry Pace
Posted on 04/13/2018
Barry Pace was honored at the April 12, 2018, Board of Education meeting.By: Benjamin Rickert, Communications Department

Oft-quoted science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke once wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” It may even seem like magic that every day more than 24,000 BCS students use digital learning devices over secure school wifi networks, operate interactive SMART boards in their classrooms, or turn original ideas into tangible creations using Makerbot 3D printers in their Media Centers. Behind the scenes of this magic is Director of Technology Barry Pace, who daily strives alongside his team of technology and digital specialists to create opportunities for teachers and young learners through educational technology- ultimately preparing students for 21st Century careers.

So, perhaps it was fittingly symbolic that as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) announced him as a winner of the prestigious Making IT Happen award, Mr. Pace was standing with his family at Universal Studio’s Platform 9 3/4, waiting for Harry Potter’s famous train that connects the Hogwarts wizardry school to the real world. But Pace doesn’t credit wizardry for his success.

“This award is really a reflection of outstanding teams striving together over time to make tough transformations happen,” Pace said. “I have the privilege of learning from and working with amazing teams as part of an incredible community of educational technology enthusiasts.”

NCTIES' March 2 Tweet AnnouncementFor more than two decades, Barry Pace’s career has been devoted to helping students and educators leverage technology. From the start, he was committed to the classroom, teaching at Richlands High and McDowell High, and later serving as the district’s Director of Technology. Pace then worked for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s (NCDPI) Connective Services team, ensuring that students benefited from public investments into bandwidth and network infrastructure.

John Warf, Senior Client Network Engineer at MCNC and a former Making IT Happen award-winner, worked with Pace at NCDPI. He explained that it was Mr. Pace’s classroom teaching experience that gave him a deep understanding of what teachers need to create equitable opportunities for student success.

Since 2014, Pace has served as the Director of Technology in Buncombe County Schools, and key among his many successes has been his aggressive 1:1 Digital Initiative. The four-year initiative will culminate in a personal digital learning device being available to each BCS student by fall of 2018. Under Pace’s leadership, all classrooms now use SMART Interactive Teaching Stations, and every Media Center is 3D Printer equipped. This year, the Technology Department announced a new Homework Hotspot program, which provides students without internet access at home access to a mobile hotspot for classwork. Mr. Pace’s team has been instrumental in putting BCS on the forefront of educational technology.

ISTE representatives announced the Making IT Happen award at the 2018 North Carolina Technology in Education Society (NCTIES) conference in Raleigh. Dr. Melanie Honeycutt, NCTIES President and Chief Information Officer of Burke County Schools, and John Warf spoke about Barry Pace’s many career accomplishments and dedication to educational technologies. BCS Assistant Director of Technology Mr. Robert Frisby also spoke on Pace’s behalf.

Dr. Tony Baldwin, Barry Pace, Dr. Melanie Honeycutt, and Ann B. Franklin.“Barry Pace has a great vision for technology integration and implementation, and he works collaboratively with all of us,” explained Dr. Honeycutt, who highlighted Pace’s efforts with NCDPI to help coordinate affordable telecommunications and scalable internet access for all North Carolina K-12 schools through the federal E-Rate program.

On Thursday, April 12, Barry Pace was personally recognized during the BCS Board of Education meeting. There, Honeycutt and Warf presented him with a custom Making IT Happen jacket, an item he will no doubt wear proudly during his work in the community.

“I am so thankful for the experiences I’ve gained here in Buncombe County Schools and across the state, and I am honored to receive this award as a reflection of the work of so many,” said Pace, “I want to thank the Buncombe County Schools family for the opportunity to continue working with such a great team and wonderful community.”

Bio (as read during the NCTIES announcement):
“From the Crystal Coast to the Craggy Gardens, Barry Pace has devoted his 20-plus year career in education to helping North Carolina students and teachers leverage technology. His Richlands High School students designed one of the earliest school websites, and one of his former McDowell High School students is now the district’s WAN Engineer. At age 31 he became the Director of Technology in McDowell, bringing fiber to the buildings, visual literacy to every classroom, wireless connectivity and laying the foundation for one-to-one.

These experiences prepared and prompted him to accept a position on the newly formed Connectivity Services team at NCDPI, where he served as a Regional E-rate Specialist, Co-State E-rate Coordinator, and Connectivity Services Manager working tirelessly to make sure all North Carolina public school students benefited from state and federal investments in scalable bandwidth and network infrastructure. In five and a half years with NCDPI he visited every corner of the state helping district and charter schools successfully navigate the E-rate process.

In 2014 he returned to his passion for implementing technology at the school district level spearheading a successful and aggressive one-to-one Digital Learning Initiative in Buncombe County. This August all 24,000 students in Buncombe will be one-to-one and students without Internet at home have access to a mobile hotspot. Effectively communicating and collaborating to ensure the technical and instructional supports are in place to foster personalized digital learning experiences is his goal, and he is dedicated to making it happen.”


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Learn more about the ISTE Making IT Happen Award and recipient qualifications.
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