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Eric Schiff

Photo by Paul Neevel

After high school in Cleveland, Ohio, and a year at Case Western Reserve, Eric Schiff followed his older brother to Eugene and the UO. “We had done summer trips out here with the family,” says Schiff, who learned metalsmithing from Max Nixon, made jewelry, played fiddle in a few bands, studied computer science and worked as a pre-school teacher at the UO Child Care Center, on his way to a bachelor’s in sociology in 1977. He entered a master’s resident teachers program, taught at Spring Creek Elementary and did course work in the summer to earn a master’s and teacher certification. A pioneer in the field of technology education, he taught for five years at Westmoreland Elementary, and for 12 at Jefferson Middle School. He ran summer technology camps for kids and workshops for educators in the 1980s and ’90s, and he still teaches evening classes in the UO’s Arts Administration program. He left Jefferson to run Premierelink Communications, a web hosting company, from the mid-’90s until the tech bubble burst, then returned to teaching at Cal Young Middle School in 2002. He helped design the technology infrastructure for the new school building that opened in 2006. “We have a project team that has developed a business model to create virtual walk-throughs for Realtors,” he says. “The kids are hands-on, actively engaged and feel a sense of purpose and reward.” Another of his passions, he says, is Harley-Davidson motorcycles. “Riding is a Zen experience for me. I’ve ridden motorcycles since high school.”