Highland Local Schools

A conversation with Dana Lehman, Director of IT.

Students on school stairs
Students on school stairs
Highland Local Schools logo

Headquarters: Medina, OH

Industry: Education

Machines: 400

In search of silent deploy

Dana works as the lone IT staff at Highland Local Schools, a district that consists of six schools in Medina, Ohio. Ten years ago, Dana came across PDQ while he was in search of a remote management tool to help him silently deploy software in the background without disrupting users. As one of our first customers, Dana remembers release notes for the beta version of PDQ 1.0.

At the time, Dana said, “Java was the biggest security hole around, and they had an update every month.” Google Chrome also had monthly updates. Unfortunately, neither of these applications could be updated with Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). Dana needed a better way to maintain the third-party applications that Highland used without having to manually update each computer.

After downloading the PDQ free trial, Dana quickly decided to purchase the solution, and he has never looked back. Updates that previously took him hours could be completely automated, and he didn’t need to sweat patch management.

There have been so many times when being able to quickly deploy an update or a patch has been a huge timesaver.

3 children working on desktop computers creating flow charts

Instant custom reports for the superintendent with PDQ Inventory

As the only IT professional at the district, Dana regularly builds reports for the superintendent. Preparing these reports before PDQ was tough, and often imprecise, since Dana needed to track everything in an Excel document. Now, he can quickly check for issues in PDQ and give real-time, accurate reports with confidence whenever he is asked. 

Inventory is my daily go-to toolbox. I am in it every day. If a user calls me for support, I use custom tools. I can set up a remote PowerShell session. I have a custom tool in there for a keyboard shortcut to go straight to that server.

Just today, Dana used PDQ Inventory for a simple fix that was much faster for him to fix remotely than explain to the user. A teacher phoned Dana to tell him she was typing a message when her computer suddenly beeped, after which she could not type anything else.

Dana’s gut told him it was a problem with accessibility features. After searching her computer name in PDQ Inventory, Dana pressed the shortcut for remote assistance and had her typing again in no time. It turns out her filter keys were on.

Set it and forget it

Patch management is a time-intensive process without a tool like PDQ, but with PDQ’s collections, Dana can schedule updates automatically.

PDQ is, for the most part, a set-and-forget product once you schedule it. It keeps stuff up to date.

Row of computer lab PCs on desks

PDQ: a necessity for K-12 school systems

PDQ not only automated Dana’s entire patch management process, but it also helped him get out of trouble fast when things broke down (as they inevitably do). Any of these scenarios sound familiar?

• After the school district updated their Intel Wi-Fi 6 Driver, they realized that they needed a driver update. Even though one building needed to be updated via USB drives, Dana was able to deploy the update to the other buildings with PDQ before their Wi-Fi was replaced.

• A teacher let Dana know last minute that he needed to load exam software onto a computer lab. Manually, it never would have been possible, but with PDQ, Dana was able to quickly deploy the exam software to the lab.

• The week before Christmas, Dana deployed a Christmas game to all of the staff for their coding classes.

• Removed bad updates (such as KB2823324).

• When using Java for the gradebook, Dana had a JNLP fix package. The file associations would break, but PDQ helped him quickly fix the issue to allow the teacher to get into the gradebook.

• A teacher had trouble loading a web page, so Dana used RA to share control of her screen to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

• An education software company emailed a few of Dana’s teachers with download links, and instead of having them each manually update their devices, he was able to get everyone updated via PDQ.

The list goes on.

I love PDQ. I don’t know how I would do my job without it.

We know sysadmins at K-12 schools have a demanding schedule. To see how PDQ’s patch management capabilities can transform your job, as well as your school district, start your PDQ 14-day free trial today. 

Experience it for yourself