Why K-12 leaders should be smarter with edtech funds

The purpose of public schools may not be to generate revenue, but their technology decision makers should still be business savvy, says Melissa Tebbenkamp, the director of instructional technology for Raytown Quality Schools in Missouri.

“[K-12 districts are] not a revenue-making company where we can have strategies to bring in new revenue,” Tebbenkamp says in a recent video interview with EdScoop. “We have to be smarter, more efficient with our funds.”

Technology, she says, can help with that.

“Where can we be part of the solution? Where can we help strategize and bring in support to be able to help operations improve and save money?” Tebbenkamp says.

That approach is a marked shift, Tebbenkamp says, from an era that designated technology leaders in K-12 districts as the “break-fix person.”

“The CTO used to be the break-fix person, and in some districts they still [are], but we have a powerful opportunity to step up and be a leader in the district,” she says. “[We can] bring the new technologies that help with efficiencies.”

Tebbenkamp on her top priorities:

“Student data privacy continues to be a top priority for us and we look at that under the umbrella of data governance.”

Tebbenkamp on emerging tech:

“As new technologies develop, our role in the school has really shifted from the ones who support the computers to the one who supports the operations of the district as well.”

These videos were filmed at the Consortium for School Networking’s annual conference in Portland, Oregon, in April 2019.