The STEM Education Blog

The Game Changer for Superintendents in 2020

Sep 16, 2019, 12:00:00 PM / by Sara Siener

Give Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) a seat at the table

seat at the table

Why? Because we no longer live in an era where our superintendents can rely on their information technology department to handle their technological questions.


In a District Administration (DA) article, Ann McMullan, education leadership consultant and a Federal Energy Technology Center (FETC) presenter, discusses how today, our "school district technology initiatives can succeed or fail based on the technological expertise of our superintendents." And when encouraging the community to embrace transformative digital learning, partnerships with the district's CTOs ensure that our schools succeed in the next academic year.

McCullen, states that it is imperative for CTOs to be part of the district leadership team at the "superintendent-cabinet level."

With technology's impact on education and its instructional and operational functions, schools need an expert's guidance to adapt and evolve. By not giving CTOs a seat at the table, school districts are minimizing their advancement in education technology.

But unfortunately, this is not a new issue for our schools. 

Education Week's Blog reported at an ISTE conference in Chicago, 2018, "CTO's in the audience said they struggle to be regarded as instructional leaders."

An audience member prompted, "How do you convince superintendents that you should be part of the leadership cabinet in the first place?"

Donna Williamson, the technology director for Mountain Brook Schools, responded, "show that you need to be there." Williamson goes on to validify the importance CTOs have in education and how their proficiency in education technology brings a key component to school districts and their decision-making process. 

Below are a few tips formed into a comprehensive list shared from District Administration.

Tips on Maximizing Your Superintendent-CTO Partnership

  1. Have your principals and teachers make meaningful conversation with your CTO
  2. Work with your CTO on feasible digital programs that will meet your instructional goal
  3. Work within the district's IT infrastructure
  4. Have an action plan in place in the case of a cybersecurity attack

If you liked this article, read more about the digital transformation in schools here: Reasons Why Career and Technology Education is Here to Stay

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Topics: STEM Careers and CTE

Sara Siener

Written by Sara Siener