School Chiefs Define Their Dream Team
We asked District Administration Advisory Panel members “how can district technology leaders create a well-balanced team, and who should be included?” Here’s what some some members had to say:
Richard Abramson, superintendent, Maranacook (Maine) Area Schools (RSU 38)
Our district has assembled the “dream team.” I have been blessed with a tech director who works hard to stay informed about educational and technological innovations and to be sensitive to the financial realities of the education world. We have two technology integrators, one in K8 and one in high school. We have a high school technology teacher who works closely with the integrator to ensure that students’ skills are up-to-date and the technology is working properly. We employ several education technicians who help keep our elementary students poised to move to the next levels of technology when they reach middle school. Lastly, we employ a full-time technology technician and a part-time assistant technician to keep all equipment well-maintained and working properly. The team meets regularly and keeps me informed of district needs, district or building issues, and its hopes and dreams for the future.
Donna Van Horn, chief school administrator, Weymouth Township (N.J.) School District
Technology management is a unique challenge for a small school district. Strict state limits on administrative spending combined with loss of state aid over the last few years have prevented our district from establishing a full-time technology supervision position. As is typical in a small district, all staff members must fill numerous roles, and filling the technology roles is no exception.
Daniel Honore, information services director, Kenosha (Wis.) Unified School District
The leader of a well-balanced team must know and thoroughly understand the needs of his or her organization to determine what talents he or she needs on the team. A dream team consists of highly qualified, driven people who do not just understand but embrace the vision of the leader and of the organization, are highly collaborative, have a positive attitude and are fun.
Patricia Haughney, director of information services, Barrington 220 (Ill.) Community Unit School District
We want a team of smart network administrators with enough of an engineering skill set to keep us and our data safe, but flexible enough to understand that our average user is eight years old and can’t log in with a 12-alphanumeric character password.
Philip Collins, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, Glenview (Ill.) School District #34
The group needs to include k-2nd grade teachers, 3rd-5th grade teachers, 6th-8th grade teachers, 9th-12th grade teachers, at least one fine arts teacher, at least one support services teacher, building level administrators, at least one central office administrator in charge of curriculum, a parent representing each level and a couple community members who do not have children in the school district. You also need to be clear about the role that the members of the committee play in terms of representation and communication. On my dream team, the central office curriculum administrator would be the highest ranking curriculum administrator in the district.
William Skilling, superintendent, Oxford Community (Mich.) Schools
A well balanced technology team should consist of personnel that exhibit expertise in the following areas (with a few examples of each):
- Hardware – Network, servers, personal computers, printers, display devices, sound
- Software – Operating systems, productivity packages, curriculum specific, management suites,
- Curriculum – Differentiated instruction, standards, pacing guides
- Process Efficiency – Knowledge of all components so that a total solution can be designed to increase the efficiency in teaching and learning. Also process improvement from an operational perspective.
- Legal – Purchasing, bidding, E-rate, licensing
- Personality – Servant leadership, customer service, personal communication skills In regards to creating a team, each organization is different. However, the leadership ultimately needs to determine the missing skills and then determine if that skill can be developed in-house or if the organization needs to recruit.