Major flaws in IT hiring process in PreK-12, and how to fix them

The IT decision-maker referred to in the following post is the person within a school who makes purchasing decisions for IT-related capital expenditures and ongoing operating expenses. Some schools group IT spending within the Operations budget. The IT decision-maker is the person who makes those IT spending decisions wherever the budget lines may sit. Hiring and supervising tech support personnel, technology integration specialists, and other IT-related positions often fall within the scope of responsibility of this position. In all, the IT decision-maker is responsible for the vision, strategic steering and outcomes of all IT matters in the school.

Lets get to it

Whether you call her/him a “coach”, “leader”, a “director”, or the “21st Century something-or-other”, the IT decision-maker in an American/independent school is one of the key drivers of overall organizational strategic direction in more ways than one. Here are some examples of how IT decision-making profoundly impacts a school:

  • IT straddles both the academic and business side of a school, thus it bears important influence on how people work in all areas – not to mention the impact on student life
  • Inefficient systems create wasteful replication of processes across the organization if left unchecked
  • Depending on the geographical location of the school, a strong academic technology platform and program – or lack thereof – may play a role in the admissions process
  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII) security and reliability depend on how things are being executed in the IT realm. (In Europe, laws covering this aspect of data security are much more stringent than in the US)
  • A substantial portion of the school’s operating and capital budget is assigned to this area yearly

In addition to the mostly business-related reasons stated above, faculty morale along with teaching and learning is affected depending on the IT strategy. Lets not get into the impact on the school’s nervous system that is curriculum as it is too broad to cover in one post.

Hiring someone new provides the leadership of a school an opportunity to determine the role of IT going forward. It is a more serious matter than most current approaches would lead one to believe. (more…)