Work Hive Member Profile – Brett Eskelson on Tech Education and Enjoying Utah’s Outdoors

BrettEBrett Eskelson started his career in technology education a few years ago at Salt Lake City based Instructure, ultimately working on the Canvas platform, Instructure’s learning management system. Now Brett is with CodeHS, a startup bringing technology education into high schools across the United States. He specializes in sales and business development and is a part time member at Work Hive in downtown Salt Lake City.

It’s clear when you meet him that Brett is very passionate about education innovation and education reform, especially when it focuses on bringing more technology education into the classroom at an early age.

Because of his position he gets to interact with schools around the country, public and private, often on the district level, though sometimes statewide. It’s given him a good perspective on how our current education system copes when it comes to keeping up with the ever evolving tech world.

“[Public school] systems take baby steps and the baby steps, I feel, are going in the right direction. The hard part is all the administrators that are there have done things a certain way and have been there for a long time.”

Public school systems are laden with a heavy amount of politics, process, and sometimes in-fighting, as many teachers and administrators can probably attest.

“There’s this conundrum. We need new leaders [in public education] to really shake things up and shift things, but new leaders don’t just come into education. It’s different than the business world… you come through the ranks and you’re taught certain things and then you’re the leader, and so the things you’ve learned are [only] what they wanted you to know, which are not the progressive things.”

Ultimately, though, Brett’s hopeful. There’s a lot of interest in technology education for public schools, in spite of the slow moving parts. “It’s such a huge buzzword right now,” says Brett in reference to K12 coding classes. “We get so many leads that I spend a lot of time reaching out to them. Like there are state-level deals that I’m working on right now… so it’s on the up and up, it’s pretty crazy.”

In case you’re wondering, Brett isn’t your stereotypical “the system is broken” lazy student in the slightest. Brett put himself through college with his own cold hard cash. “Yeah, my life was nuts,” Brett recalls. “I worked an awful lot, like my last two years of college I took 20 credit hours and worked 50 hours a week.” That’s absolutely amazing.

Luckily these days Brett is able to relax and adventure along with his wife and three boys. “Life’s much better now,” Brett jests. A native of Davis County, he’s no stranger to spending weekends outdoors, whether hiking or cruising off-road on the family’s set of ATVs.

It’s clear that Brett loves Utah. In fact, his company offered to move him to San Francisco and he refused.

“In Utah we have so many cool things. That’s why I love it here. CodeHS wanted me to move to San Francisco of course, and I said ‘sure if you pay me enough, but you can pay me less and I’ll stay here. And I’ll be much happier because there’s way more to do and it’s so awesome in Utah.”

Some quick facts about Brett:

Daytime beverage: water.
Evening beverage: water.
Brett’s lunch: salad with balsamic vinaigrette.