December 4, 2019

How to Talk Tech with Your Superintendent

Kevin Dorsey, Ed.D.
A group of adults gathered around a woman leading a discussion while working on a computer

Preplanning for tech buys and school board communication can help IT leaders and superintendents collaborate better.

Running a district IT department becomes increasingly challenging as more technology enters the schools, classrooms and students’ hands.

That’s why, when I was an IT director, one of my biggest concerns was building and maintaining an open line of communication with my superintendent. Other IT administrators often ask me how to do that, and my answer touches on trust, curriculum priorities and community. It all comes down to one unifying intention: relationships.

Technology departments support all district functions, from financial systems and student information systems to instructional software at the teacher and student levels. A trust-based, working relationship between district IT administrators and superintendents ensures technology decisions and overall strategy align and are articulated appropriately to constituents who make broader budgeting decisions.

The relationship also matters because superintendents rarely have experience working in a school technology department. Instead, they’re expected to possess a more holistic view of the school and district, rather than technology-specific knowledge, which means superintendents often must rely on IT leaders to make informed decisions about technology purchases.

The typical superintendent needs school board approval for any tech initiative or large purchase. It’s important that such purchases are made with the tech department’s recommendations for how best to support the curriculum, students, and business functions of the organization.

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