K-12 district technology leaders are among the most influential people in a school district.
As the role of digital technology in the classroom has expanded and become more sophisticated, chief technology officers’ responsibilities have grown beyond just managing and troubleshooting a handful of information technology tools.
Now, there are thousands of digital tools to maintain, an increased risk for cyberattacks, a need for off-campus access to digital devices, and a much stronger connection between technology and teaching.
Who are the people taking the lead to manage all these challenges in K-12 school districts?
The vast majority are white, male, and between the ages of 40 to 59, according to the Consortium for School Networking’s 2023 State of EdTech Leadership report. Slightly more than half of male CTOs come from a technical or technology background outside of schools while the vast majority of female tech leaders come from K-12 instructional backgrounds.
These demographics haven’t changed much in the last decade, the report found. But it’s worth noting that the number of women in K-12 ed-tech leadership has actually dropped slightly in the past seven years, to 33 percent this year from 36 percent in 2016.
The male dominance in district technology leadership is even more striking given that the vast majority of teachers are women. More than three-quarters of teachers are women, as well as 56 percent of principals.
“That’s alarming,” said Diane Doersch, who leads CoSN’s board of directors and is also the senior director of information technology for Digital Promise. “What can we do not only to get females but other underrepresented populations into ed-tech leadership roles?”
Following are five charts that illustrate in detail the makeup of district technology leadership, based on data from CoSN’s annual report, which surveyed more than 1,200 U.S. school district technology leaders between Jan. 10 and Feb. 28.