Find the Ideal CTO for Your School
A strong technology department is the backbone of any sound instructional program. Pre-K-12 schools and universities alike will thrive academically only if their IT departments have what it takes to be successful: an ideal Chief Technology Officer.
For at least a decade, a CTO position has been a coveted position. It supersedes the outdated Chief Information Officer role because the CTO not only oversees the technology for business operations. The Chief Technology Officer in your organization holds the highest-ranking tech position. He or she also looks for ways to expand business by incorporating technology into all areas of operation. The CTO typically focuses on infrastructure, planning, consumers, and collaboration.
You’ve found an ideal CTO if this person:
· Brings a vision. If your CTO wants to preserve the status quo, you may have the wrong person in this job. The ideal CTO has a vision and shares it with the team. Then the CTO helps the organization achieve it.
· Manages capital. The CTO must oversee data systems, as well as all software and web applications in use. Although resources are critical to technology operations, the CTO also must manage and motivate the technology team. The human resources in the technology department help to drive the vision and make it a reality.
· Demonstrates flexibility. Strategic plans are critical for implementing technology at any level. They are crucial for supporting LAN/WAN architecture, maintaining hardware and software, and supervising edtech systems. However, every plan needs a contingency solution for those times when servers go down, hackers breach the network, or the hardware doesn’t work.
· Practices exceptional listening skills. Teachers and students possess varying levels of comfort and understanding of what technology can do for them. By listening to not only ideas but also concerns, the CTO can implement a comprehensive technology plan that involves all stakeholders.
· Encourages innovation. Like the CIO, an ideal CTO will encourage innovative problem solving among team members. The nature of technology invites disruption. By challenging the status quo of existing technology, the CTO and tech team members are more likely to keep technology current, vibrant, and relevant.
· Makes security a priority. The CTO serves as a data gatekeeper. This role is especially critical in schools, where HIPAA and FERPA laws protect the identity of minors. An untold number of edtech companies do not have procedures in place that prevent the harvesting of students’ data from their apps. The CTO is ever-vigilant in assuring that all tech users on campus are protected.
· Advocates for technology change. As technology advances, so must the systems and interventions used in schools. The ideal CTO stays abreast of changes in technology and recommends new technologies that advance the goals of the school.
· Continues education. CTOs promote professional development at every opportunity. They are interested not only in challenging themselves to learn and grow but everyone else, too.
Finally, your CTO should be an executive who knows how to conduct himself or herself with a variety of people from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, some of the best CTOs have a keen sense of humor. Dealing with a downed internet and irate tech users isn’t funny, but it helps to be able to laugh when things don’t go as planned.
If you’ve already found your ideal CTO, treat them well. Many schools would like to lure that person into their own organization.