KCI kicked off its first Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) program in summer 2018. Seventeen educators from across the state participated in this 27-unit program that trains educators to fill a real need at the school district level—a new breed of cabinet-level educational leaders who are also sufficiently trained in IT infrastructure. With appropriately trained leaders, districts can now strategically take full advantage of technology integration in the classroom, supported by the right infrastructure. KCI is fortunate to partner with CUE Inc. to supplement curriculum and to provide support throughout the program.
Conducted like other ‘blended’ executive programs, CIO program participants commit to the seven-month program that requires attendance once a month on a Friday evening and all day Saturday, plus online course work. The initial cohort represented a wide range of educators: teachers, instructional coaches, Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs), principals and others in school or district leadership positions. All cohort members journeyed to the CUE Conference in Palm Springs, where they graduated on March 15 and were recognized at the opening keynote address (see picture).
The CIO program is designed to give educators wanting to elevate their professional practice a way to implement educational change. The CIO’s role is pivotal for a district because it guides the educational and technological planning processes, and oversees the ever-changing technology learning environment. When surveyed at the end of the program, 94% of the cohort stated the program will help them change education—one of the key goals—and 100% of the participants agreed that the CIO program opened their minds to additional opportunities in education. Additionally, 94% felt better prepared to enter a CIO career at a school district.
All participants created their own technology plan for a district. One participant commented, “The progression of assignments which led to the drafting of our own tech plan was very useful. Each month we focused on a specific topic suchas servers and instructional tech strategies. Each investigation gave us opportunities to study our own schools in greater depth. All these elements came together in our own tech plans—which is a great way to strategically plan for the big picture.”
Lisa DeLapo, KCI Innovator in Residence and program director, stated:
“Our goal is to prepare the CIO candidates to support future-ready classrooms and student-centered learning environments, but through the program, they also collaborated, created, and built lifelong connections with each other.”
At the program’s conclusion 94% of participants stated this goal was met—noting that there was sufficient time to collaborate with their peers, and that they now had a new professional learning network for the future.