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.
Under Hanson’s leadership, Fresno used the results of the audit as a guide for rebuilding its staffing and infrastructure. Using eRate discounts “wisely and systematically,” he said, has allowed the district to deliver a fiber-optic network to its more than 100 buildings.
For guiding a turnaround that has seen Fresno progress from worst in the state to a leader in ed-tech use, Hanson was recognized as a 2012 winner of the Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards from eSchool Media. He recently sat down with eSchool News Editor Dennis Pierce to discuss his district’s experience and the keys to its success.
Being tech-savvy “is now a requirement of the job” for today’s superintendents, Hanson said, adding that the concept has different meanings for different people.
“I would define a tech-savvy superintendent as doing my job,” he said. “I think my staff would define it as me having information before they do. From a student’s perspective, being tech savvy is simply trying to create opportunities for them. For teachers and principals, it’s putting tools in their hands to [help them] do their jobs in an increasingly difficult set of circumstances. From a parent’s perspective, it means getting access to student information more quickly.”
Watch the full interview with Hanson here: