An IT Director (or Information Technology Manager) has many unique responsibilities in caring for a school. Along with those responsibilities, any Information Technology Manager also has to contend with a wide range of unique challenges and limitations. For the uninitiated, your IT Director is responsible for purchasing the major tech resources for schools. In this blog, we'll break down the school IT Director job description, the biggest goals and initiatives they're seeking to implement in 2020, as well as the biggest challenges they face in the current landscape of education. Follow along for more info, and be sure to subscribe to our blog for future articles just like these.
Meet your IT director
You'll likely see your IT Director installing and maintaining any equipment your school needs to operate. This can include hardware, software, internal security systems, and sometimes more complex projects. They're also responsible for ordering and maintaining equipment. If you've ever needed a computer to be fixed or a projector back up and running, chances are you've called on the services of your Information Technology department. Additionally, you may find your IT Director is called on to organize events, grant technology permissions, supervise and train staff, manage budgets, conduct outside research, and even implement technological initiatives for your school.
That's quite the role. We can hear some of the teachers reading this breathing a sigh of relief these duties don't apply to their job description. The job takes a high level of expertise to meet the standards a school needs. Without the IT team to guide us, we'd be back to chalkboards and old Bill Nye tapes on VHS. We know there are some teachers out there that still think this was the golden era of learning, and we can see why. However, there are so many new and unique opportunities an IT Director can foster for a school. Before we get into that, we need to answer a simple question: how can we distinguish the good from the great?
Setting goals and meeting initiatives
You might be asking, "Other than being a computer wiz, what makes a good IT Director for a school?" That's a great question. Just because you can get those pesky auditorium speakers working or know how to format a hard drive doesn't mean you'll be a great Information Technology Manager. There are two qualities that distinguish the good from the great: the ability to set goals and meet them.
2020 is already shaping up to be a great year for technological innovation in the classroom. We're seeing big pushes in categories like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, and online learning. We can't have any of these bells and whistles without a good IT Director at the helm. When searching for a great public school IT Director, look for someone goal oriented.
A great Information Technology Manager will come up with detailed SMART steps, a timeline, and a list of required, but achievable, resources needed to carry out their projects. Also, you should make sure your IT Director is on top of current trends in education like personalized learning, genius hour, coding, increased security, and gamification. It might also be fruitful to find someone who can stretch a dollar, as school budgets are becoming harder to manage.
The tough road ahead
Make no mistake, we weren't kidding when we said being a school IT Director can be difficult. It's expected they will run into snags during the process of fulfilling the initiatives they set out to accomplish.
For instance, one of the most popular initiatives in 2020 will be to increase school safety. We know a thing or two about this trend, and your IT Director will most likely be the person responsible for implementing improvements like high-quality cameras, door locking mechanisms, and even security systems like Badge Messenger.
Finding the right security solution for a school can become costly, so your Information Technology Manager will need to find cost-effective methods for keeping your campus safe. During this time, make sure to frequently consult with your Director in order to keep goals attainable, monitor upcoming changes, and stay up to date on emerging trends and capabilities for existing tech.
School IT Directors can run into all sorts of problems when gearing up your school for the future like:
- Dwindling Budgets
- Outdated Technology
- Broken Systems
- Old Infrastructure
- Bureaucratic Red Tape
- Lack of Research
- Lack of Reliable Services (Internet, Cable, Power, etc.)
When these problems persist, it is up to your IT Director to make necessary adjustments and find the best solution for your school or district.
Every good Direction needs a good director
The good news is no matter the limitations your school faces, the benefits of having a solid school IT Director outweigh the price. As we're implementing so many complex and technologically advanced initiatives (especially in the field of safety), we need direction. Who better to show us the way than an Information Technology Manager with clear goals and a charted path to get there.