Who are the education technology leaders of tomorrow?
The Consortium for School Networking, a professional organization representing school tech directors, has launched a new program called NextGeneration Leaders. Co-sponsored by EdScoop, the program aims to recognize and support emerging K-12 technology directors whose roles and responsibilities are constantly changing.
The candidates represent the future leaders who will be tasked with not just technology troubleshooting and network infrastructure maintenance, but also ensuring students and teachers have access to high-speed broadband and rethinking how devices are incorporated into students’ learning.
“Building the capacity of school systems to lead a digital leap is the most essential ingredient in the successful use of technology to transform learning,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “And core to that capacity building is ensure that we have a pipeline that builds next generation education technology leaders.”
He added that one-third of all current school district CTOs plan to retire in six years, “highlighting the imperative that we recognize and strengthen future leaders, as CoSN and EdScoop are doing with the NextGeneration Leaders initiative.”
To qualify for the program, candidates must:
- Be currently employed by a K-12 school/district or an education service agency.
- Have no more than five years working as an education technology professional.
- Have demonstrated leadership in the schools/districts they serve.
There is a preference for fledgling tech leaders who are from, or serve, underrepresented populations like small, rural or inner-city schools that educate minority and female students.
Schools are encouraged to nominate qualified individuals, but self-nominations are also accepted. To be nominated, candidates must complete an online nomination form on CoSN’s website.
According to a CoSN IT Leadership survey this year, preparing schools for online standardized assessments was the No. 1 priority for technology directors, followed by wireless access and mobile learning. Tech directors are often unsung heroes in school districts, and have to work with increasingly smaller budgets and challenges in both instructional and administrative technology. They also have to worry about protecting students’ privacy and implementing a robust security system.
However, 90 percent of technology leaders have been in their professions for more than six years — and that figure is expected to decline. Krueger said he is worried about losing talented, experienced members through attrition — but added that the career path is an exciting one, filled with opportunities to redefine education.
“Twenty years ago, 80 percent of the job was, in fact, managing the network,” Krueger said during a video interview. “Today, that’s probably 30 percent. Everything is
embedded with technology, so it’s at the heart of what learning looks like today.”
The deadline for nominations is Dec. 4. A panel of judges will review the nominations and select qualified candidates for a vote by members of the education technology industry. Throughout the course of the nomination and selection process, EdScoop will feature current technology directors who have made significant contributions to their schools and districts.
“Our experience working with technology leaders across the U.S. has impressed upon us the importance of developing future IT leaders now in every organization,” said Wyatt Kash, vice president for content strategy at Scoop News Group, which publishes EdScoop. “EdScoop is pleased to support CoSN in this important effort to identify next generation leaders.”
Winners will be announced at a special luncheon at CoSN’s annual conference in April in Washington, D.C., and they will also be invited to attend a NextGeneration Leaders Bootcamp during the event. Nominate your NextGeneration Leader candidate here.
Know a school technology director who goes above and beyond daily duties and would like to be profiled? Email Corinne Lestch at firstname.lastname@example.org.