Education has changed. We now depend on many stakeholders, not just teachers and parents. Stable administrators are crucial to the operation of schools, as I have written previously. I have written before about how dependent we are on policy makers. As technology becomes more important, we need to cultivate and ensure that the director of technology isn’t just the most technically proficient IT person in the area.
A great tech director has certain qualities. While they can be difficult to find, I believe that these are essential. Do not settle for someone who only knows about networking and technology. You should ensure they also have other skills.
Tim Scholefield, Norwalk-La Mirada Unified Schools District in California, helped me to create a list with the qualities and expectations I wanted a school tech director to have. Tim is a teacher first and foremost. This should be the goal of all districts when selecting a director of technology or CTO of technology. Tim was an administrator of networks earlier in his career. He realized that he needed to be able to support all stakeholders by having a good understanding of curriculum and instruction.
He went back to school to complete a masters degree in educational technology. This is where he “truly grasped the struggles of teachers and administrators in creating content that makes it meaningful for students”. He can now offer a more nuanced perspective to discussions about curriculum and instruction because of his sensitivity.
Tim brings his expertise in digital management and curriculum design to the table as the CTO of his superintendent. This will help the district expand its vision for the future. There are many technical skills that a candidate should possess when they’re looking to hire a director of technology. These leaders need to have other skills, however, that aren’t often identified.
Scholefield says that IT is not a luxury but an essential part of every aspect of a school district’s ecosystem. This includes instruction. A director of technology who can communicate beyond technology is a great choice. They exist, and they play a crucial role in moving education forward.