Put CTOs on the Top Tier Cabinet

By Ann Lee Flynn

Organizational charts say a great deal about a district -- or any organization, for that matter. They let you know who is in charge and how much influence each position has based on how far down the chain of command it appears. An org chart reflects the mission of an organization by how it groups key content areas together.

Ideally, org charts are routinely reviewed and adjusted in light of an organization’s evolving needs, ensuring that the best people with the best skills are positioned to do the best work. 

While some positions, like those of the superintendent and classroom teachers, have appeared in the same place on organization charts for decades, other positions are much more fluid. Some districts have a coordinator who works with homeless children; another may invest in a communications director; and yet another employs a grant writer. But the position I believe may be most misunderstood is the role of the chief technology officer, or CTO.

When the first desktop computers arrived in K-12 classrooms in the 1970s, automated systems already were supporting many administrative functions. Since then, the role of technology has grown beyond the classrooms to business operations and parent and community outreach. 

Technology allows 24/7 access to district resources and supports every area, from food service to the school board chamber. And as I learned while at NSBA’s site visits last year in Texas’ Klein Independent School District and Alabama’s Cullman City Schools, technology has transformed even the athletic department.

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