Before the ceremony, the winners sat down with eSchool News Editor-in-Chief Dennis Pierce to discuss the qualities they think are important for today’s superintendents, the initiatives they’re most proud of having led in their schools, and the advice they’d give to colleagues in piloting schools effectively in the Information Age.
To hear what these exemplary leaders had to say, click on the headlines below.
For Mark Evans, being a tech-savvy superintendent means “always looking down the road,” with an eye toward how technology can help school districts achieve what he calls the “three Cs”: classroom engagement, cost efficiency, and communication.
Daniel Frazier, superintendent of Iowa’s Sioux Central Community School District, believes the most important thing school leaders need to do today is “show bold leadership.”
Nicholas Gledich, superintendent of the Colorado Springs School District 11 in Colorado, says one of the things his district has learned is the value of “pausing, planning, and executing” when it comes to ed-tech implementation.
Michele Hancock, superintendent of the Kenosha Unified School District in Wisconsin, attributes much of her district’s ed-tech success to constant communication with stakeholders.
When Michael Hanson became superintendent of California’s Fresno Unified School District in 2005, the district was on the verge of a state takeover, and an audit revealed it was the worst in the state in terms of ed-tech use. That’s no longer the case.
On May 22, 2011, the town of Joplin, Mo., lost six schools in an EF5 tornado that killed 160 people and displaced half the student body. Joplin currently has about 3,200 students living in temporary facilities. In spite of these challenges, the district is leading the way in using technology to transform instruction under the guidance of Superintendent C.J. Huff.
Jerri Kemble, superintendent of the Centre School District in Lost Springs, Kansas, knows first-hand the challenges of leading a small school district: She’s not only the superintendent, but also the K-12 principal and virtual school director for this one-school district located “in the middle of a wheat field.”
For Bradford Saron, being a tech-savvy superintendent “has less to do with the devices you have and more to do with how you use them. In my judgment, being able to leverage technology to help people grow and also to convene teams to solve problems are the most important parts of being a tech-savvy superintendent.”
The most important part of effective leadership “is not knowing how do to something, but knowing what to do”—and then turning it over to the people with the right expertise, said William Skilling, superintendent of the Oxford Community Schools in Michigan.