Giving Compass' Take:

• As technology becomes more prevalent in the classroom, district technology leaders are becoming a useful resource for school superintendents.

• Philanthropy can go beyond dollars. If you're an expert in a particular field, how can you use your skills to advance social good?

• Read about the importance of creating an equitable design in edtech. 

The rise of educational technology and school network infrastructure, and the related cybersecurity needs, have made school and district technology leaders some of the most important personnel in K-12 organizations — so much so that the position has become a pipeline to the superintendency.

In a crowded session at the Future of Education Technology Conference in Orlando this week, consultant and former Klein Independent School District (Texas) executive director for educational technology Ann McMullan moderated a panel of three tech-directors-turned-superintendents who also all serve on the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Superintendent Advisory Panel.

Superintendents can ultimately learn a lot from the people in tech leadership roles, and the panelists used their prior experiences to elaborate on the recruitment and hiring process, primary responsibilities, how to cultivate their leadership, and what they've learned as superintendents from their own chief technology officers.

Manheim Central School District (Pennsylvania) Superintendent Peter Aiken's current CTO is a former teacher, so he understands both the nuts and bolts as well as the instructional side. A common challenge in that role is how to become well-rounded and balance the tech side with teaching and learning, so having someone who understands both is a blessing, he said.

Even in a small district, Zeigenfuss said, one person can’t know everything and do everything in technology. It's important to have someone who knows basic infrastructure and what’s on the cutting edge of tech as well as someone with the the ability to work on a team. Technology departments can’t operate in silos, such as having ed tech and IT as separate sub-departments, as people outside of those areas aren’t often in the loop.

Read the full article about why superintendents need tech leaders by Roger Riddell at Education Dive