The Role of the Education CTO/CIO: Discussions at the CoSN Massachusetts CTO Clinic

Topics in this article

Last week I attended and led a discussion at the CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) Massachusetts CTO Clinic. The theme of the event was “Orchestrating Ubiquitous Technology: Preparing for an Open Ended Future.”

CoSN is the premier professional association for district technology leaders and the CoSN community represents nine million students in school districts nationwide. I’m a member of the CoSN Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) Governance Committee and former member of the CoSN Board of Directors. I was joined by Kevin Givens, Regional Sales Manager, and Shannon Boelter, Account Executive, from the Dell team.

In working with CoSN over the past several years, we’ve supported their Framework of Essential Skills of the K12 CTO, upon which CETL certification was built. It shows the expansion of the role of the education CTO and CIO and encompasses much more than just technical skills.

The 10 specific skill areas of the framework are:students with laptops at table in classroom

  1. Leadership & Vision
  2. Strategic Planning
  3. Ethics & Policies
  4. Instructional Focus & Professional Development
  5. Team Building & Staffing
  6. Stakeholder Focus
  7. Information Technology Management
  8. Communication Systems Management
  9. Business Management
  10. Data Management

Martha Heller, keynote speaker and author of The CIO Paradox: Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership, spoke about “Breaking the CIO Paradox.” She highlighted that now, more than ever, technology can make or break companies. She also discussed accountability vs. ownership, including the need for department and business owners to be involved in IT projects along with the CIO and the need for integrated data strategies.

I had a chance to present our perspective on “Student Access: Creating the Ideal Ecosystem and Choosing the Right Device for your Student 1×1 Learning Initiative.” I emphasized Dell’s five step process for schools to choose the right device, outlined below:

I heard from a number of attendees after my session “I had no idea that Dell did all of that” and I want to share the steps with the academic folks in my district.” We’re looking forward to continuing the conversation and sponsoring the Texas CTO Clinic this June in our hometown of Austin, TX. Our own Jim Stikeleather, Executive Strategist & Chief Innovation Officer, Dell Services will be the keynote speaker.  

Follow Donna on Twitter @DonnaBatDell.

About the Author: Donna Boivin

Topics in this article