Lauren Woolley, Technology Coordinator for Shelby County Schools, recently received the certified Chief Technology Officer (CTO) designation from the Alabama Leaders in Educational Technology (ALET) association. Ms. Woolley was one of 14 who completed the yearlong AL-CTO program. This brings the total number of current and aspiring technology directors who have earned this certification over the past three years to 80 statewide.
The technology demands of school systems are unique, which led ALET to develop the yearlong AL-CTO study program. On top of running all the normal types of software that businesses do, schools must also ensure that teachers and students have the technology and training needed in order to improve educational outcomes. This can mean managing thousands and in large systems even tens of thousands, of devices and accounts. In addition, school systems deal with a great range of data from student information to testing data – all of which needs to be managed and protected.
“The year-long course was extremely beneficial with helping me learn more of the details, laws, and procedures involved with the district position of Technology Coordinator as well as developing a professional learning community to continue to learn from,” said Woolley.
ALET also developed the program to assist technology directors who often come from diverse professional backgrounds. Success in the role of a K-12 CTO means possessing and maintaining a high level of competency in both education and technology, not just one or the other.
“We have participants who rose to the technology director position with college degrees in education and others who entered the field with a technical background. This program helps every participant develop a higher level of expertise across the board,” said Kelli Lane, ALET Vice President for Professional Learning. “The participants benefit from the program, but more importantly their school systems do as well.”