Classroom Technology

ISTE and Chief Executive Officer Brian Lewis Part Ways

By Sean Cavanagh — September 15, 2016 2 min read
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The International Society for Technology in Education and its CEO, Brian Lewis, have parted ways, the organization announced this week, in an unexpected leadership change at the top of the prominent ed-tech organization.

The chair of ISTE’s board of directors, Kecia Ray, announced in a letter to the organization’s members this week that Lewis is “no longer serving as our organization’s CEO.”

She thanked Lewis for the “energy and creativity” he brought in the four years he served in the role.

The letter does not give a reason for Lewis’ exit from the organization, which comes about four years into his tenure as CEO. The ISTE chairwoman declined in an interview to elaborate further on the nature of the split.

The full ISTE board of directors later released a statement to Education Week saying that Lewis’ work had ended on Sept. 10. A former ISTE president, Cheryl Scott Williams, will serve as interim CEO while the organization searches for a permanent replacement.

“The ISTE board wishes Brian well in all of his future endeavors,” the statement to EdWeek said.

The board “continues to be dedicated to its members and to providing resources and a network to support them as they leverage the power of technology to transform learning,” the statement said. “Moving forward, the board is focused on finding a CEO who is aligned to our missions and commitment to our members.”

Lewis was named ISTE’s CEO in 2012, after having worked in both the private and public sector, including with big associations. Before he was hired, he was the chief strategy officer and interim CEO for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Founded in 1979, ISTE has nearly 17,000 members and has a big presence in the K-12 digital landscape. It publishes standards for educational technology, releasing the most recent version of those benchmarks earlier this year.

The organization is probably best known in the field for the massive annual conference that it stages each summer, which draws thousands of educators, administrators, companies, and others for a sprawling array of workshops, presentations, exhibits by vendors, and networking sessions.

This year’s gathering, held in Denver, drew about 20,000 attendees from 72 countries, and Lewis had a visible role. At that event, he announced that ISTE would launch its first-ever effort to raise money through licensing fees tied to companies’ use of the organization’s digital standards. The goal was to diversify ISTE’s revenue sources, and make it less reliant on its conferences, Lewis explained at the time.

The new interim CEO, Williams, served as executive director of the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of education organizations, from 2010 to 2015. Williams is a past board president of ISTE.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.