"I'm pretty sure I'm not finished," Knezek said when discussing his future in education advocacy.

When things are going well, it might seem like a strange time for a leader to step aside—but according to one of educational technology’s most notable figures, that’s exactly the best time to give others a chance to take the helm.

Recently, two big names in education circles announced they’re stepping down: Donald G. Knezek, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and Anne Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA).

Both Knezek and Bryant will leave their positions in September this year.

“Even before I decided to compete for the CEO position in 2002, I held a strong belief that approximately a decade is the right time period for an individual to lead an organization … as long as things are going well,” said Knezek in an interview with eSchool News. “I’m very proud of what the ISTE family has achieved for learners around the world during my tenure of growth and stewardship, and I will have been in the position a decade this month.”

Don Knezek

During Knezek’s tenure as ISTE’s CEO, he:

  • Completed a merger with the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC), which helped to strengthen both ISTE and this annual conference, says the organization;
  • Established a headquarters office in Washington, D.C., where he became a voice and authority on educational technology issues and positioned ISTE as a policy and advocacy champion for digital-age learning, teaching, and education leadership in the halls of U.S. Congress, the White House, and other parts of government;
  • Increased global collaborations and partnerships. Knezek currently serves on the governing board of the Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE), part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The governing board of IITE consists of only 11 members chosen for their eminence in the field;
  • Refreshed and expanded ISTE’s National Educational Technology Standards (NETS)—a framework for global digital-age learning, teaching, and leadership.

“When there is as much talent and leadership capacity as there is in the ed-tech community, it makes no sense for one individual to think about hoarding a leadership position or staying longer than feels right,” explained Knezek. “I sense there are family, friends, and other loved ones that I’ve neglected at times … and I think I’m ready to move into a role with just a bit less intensity. There hasn’t been a lot of time for anything other than ISTE over the last several years.”