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From the Editor

Race to the Top 100

Shared reader expertise is a unique strength of the DA community.

Odvard Egil DyrliSince participants in the District Administration community are the most informed consumers in K12 education, it is with great pleasure that we announce their selections for the 2012 Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products in this issue. DA reaches school superintendents and other key executives in virtually every district in the United States, and no one is better qualified to comment on district spending options.

The annual Top 100 recognition program was created to inform K12 school buyers about the products and services their colleagues around the country are implementing in various categories—including hardware, software, online resources, classroom materials and books—and share endorsements on how each selection brings success to districts. Record numbers of nominations were received this year, along with enthusiastic supporting recommendations.

The nominations were compiled and managed by Products Editor Lauren Williams, with able assistance from the DA staff, including writers and editors Kurt Eisele-Dyrli, Angela Pascopella, Lynn Russo Whylly, and Alison DeNisco. Narrowing the field took weeks and was difficult and challenging, but only the leading 100 products could be chosen for awards.

The Top 100 feature starts on page 57, so review the products and services your colleagues selected as this year’s best for K12 education. These range broadly from computer tablets, energy-saving tools, and cloud-based applications, to class-management software, school security devices, and programs for securing substitute teachers. We trust the article will be a valuable reference for readers in making and confirming the right purchase decisions. As one of my administration colleagues observed, “Educators make better choices when they know that superior applications and products exist.”

Multiple Avenues to Expertise

District Administration offers multiple monthly, weekly, and daily avenues to getting informed and staying informed, including articles, columns, news, district and administrator profiles, and product reports in each issue. You can also read every DA issue online and copy articles for your staff, and search the entire website on any topic (

In addition, we produce a variety of free web seminars that highlight products, and include product information in our rapidly-growing newsletters such as the free “DA Daily” and “District CIO.” We also offer specialized subscription services, including product resource alerts, solution showcases and virtual shootouts where products from different companies compete toe-to-toe (

Building and Burning Brands

Recent studies have shown the overwhelming majority of DA subscribers are purchasers who select and reject specific brands of products and services, and we refer to this as “brand building” and “brand burning” respectively. Major sources of information are therefore also the print and online product ads from companies that are demonstrating their commitment to the K12 market and keeping our readership informed. Some companies also prepare white papers on key buying topics and commission custom case-studies as part of our “Spread the Word” program, which provides readers with in-depth insights into product applications.

We want to be your go-to source for up-to-date information on products and services for K12 school districts, and present a growing array of options, including cutting-edge professional development programs for superintendents from the District Administration Leadership Institute ( I would love to know which combinations of DA media are most helpful to you professionally, and look forward to meeting you here again next month.

Odvard Egil Dyrli

Executive Editor

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