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Job requirements

  • 1.  Job requirements

    Posted 02-25-2018 12:19
    I have a question about job titles.

    Information Technology leadership positions go by many names:  Director of Technology, Chief Technology Officer, etc.  When I was hired, my title was "Network Administrator."  Over the last 20 years, my job has slowly changed and I am now the department lead.  I manage 2 other full time workers and a part-time worker from our BOCES.  I have helped with audits and paperwork for the state, justified the creation of new IT dept. positions, provided data for the department's budget, run PD sessions, etc.

    I've begun a conversation with the superintendent about a change in title, so that it more accurately reflects my work responsibilities.  One item we've discussed is becoming certified in district administration.  I'd like to check-in with other professionals here.

    In your opinion, would a change of title to "Director of Technology" or something similar require a school administration degree?  If it helps, we're a rural district in New York state with about 1200 - 1300 students.

    Any guidance or comparisons to your situation would be of great assistance to me.  Thank you in advance for any and all help.

    Jaime Kikpole
    Network Administrator
    Cairo-Durham CSD
    Cairo, NY
    (518) 622-8543, x50503

  • 2.  RE: Job requirements

    Posted 02-25-2018 12:44

    The best way to answer this is to find out if an administrator certificate is required in your state. In Illinois it's not required, unless you are evaluating teachers, and then you would need a teachers license. If it's not required by the state, you may want to have more discussion with your superintendent.

    Some districts in Illinois require the certification for all administrators, regardless of what the state requires. Each circumstance may be slightly different.

    Keith A. Bockwoldt, CETL
    NSBA "20 to Watch"
    Director of Technology Services
    Township High School District 214
    2121 S. Goebbert Road | Arlington Heights, Illinois 60005
    Phone: 847.718.7671 | Fax: 847.718.7673
    Twitter: @District214 | @techdirector214 |


    Let's Connect!


    If this is a Freedom of Information Act request, please forward the request to District 214's FOIA Officer Patrick Mogge at

    All e-mail correspondence to and from this address is subject to the Acceptable Use Policies of District 214, which may result in monitoring and disclosure to third parties, including law enforcement.  Any views or opinions presented in this e-mail are solely those of the author and might not represent those of Township High School District 214.

  • 3.  RE: Job requirements

    Posted 02-25-2018 17:24
    Hey there---I'm not too far from you and can give you some thought offline as well. Just email me.

    In NY Director of Tech can be certified or classified (civil service). If you don't have an admin certificate, it's going to take time---classified would be a ton easier. The only downside to classified is that then you have to be reachable from the top 3 in a civil service list. 

    Note: in NY salary is separate from whether it's certified or classified. Salary is decided by the BOCES or school district.


    Kieran O'Connor, CETL
    Executive Director of Planning, Development and Technology
    East Syracuse Minoa Central Schools

    315-434-3008 or internal x2661

  • 4.  RE: Job requirements

    Posted 02-26-2018 10:54

    CoSN uses the umbrella term of Chief Technology Officer (but districts will use lots of different titles for this position.  I recommend you look at CoSN's Framework of Essential Skills to see the comprehensive way we think about the job (or jobs at a large district) to accomplish transformation.


    I also recommend you read Module Two of our Empowered Superintendent's toolkit  which talks about the new skills needed to build a strong district team around use of technology for learning, including the importance of this position.


    Also, there are great tools highlighted on including a CTO self-assessment, a draft job description, questions for an interview for a CTO position, as well as a CTO evaluation rubric.


    Hope this helps. 


    Keith Krueger, CAE

    CEO,  CoSN – Consortium for School Networking

    1325 G St., NW

    Suite 420

    Washington, DC 20005




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  • 5.  RE: Job requirements

    Posted 02-26-2018 11:12

    While not specifically related to your title, becoming a Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) would demonstrate that you have mastered the competencies of a Chief Technology Officer, per the CoSN Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO.  The CETL is the only national credential available to education technology leaders.

    CoSN has some resources for Superintendents which may be helpful, as well.

    Morgean Hirt ACA
    Senior Director of Certification
    Washington DC
    (202) 521-9132

  • 6.  RE: Job requirements

    Posted 02-27-2018 09:35

    I have been the Technology Director at my current location for about 25 years and 12 years before that at a different school system.  I asked the superintendent when I was hired if I should get my Admin Certification.  His response, you have the skill set and that is what is important to me and to the Board.  Yes, I am at the cabinet level and compensated accordingly.  I believe the CETL certification is a very strong endorsement of the skill set required to do the job.  However, ultimately different school boards have different requirements tied to compensation so you are wise to have that discussion with your superintendent.

  • 7.  RE: Job requirements

    Posted 02-28-2018 07:33


    43 years ago, when I started my career, I had a professor tell me, "Don't have a 30-year career with only one year of experience." In reflection, I now understand that he was talking just to me. Everyone has their own path and different needs. Mine has always been to transform education through technology. So, every year I have had a significant job change. In one case I worked for the same district for eight years, but every year there was an administrative role that I could take on to transform through technology. I was always the Director of Technology reporting to the Superintendent, but I would also take on the curriculum, budget, food services, facilities, principal management and so on. Each year it was a different role.  Being a Director of Technology you learn about every aspect of education. Having my CETL is the best reflection of that level of understanding.

    Now to you and your question, it really depends on what you want. However, if you are truly going to be an educational technology leader, having a broad understanding of every aspect of education is important. Sometimes just throwing a computer at a problem isn't the solution. Sometimes you need to understand the question and not only change the technology, but what is happening.

    One of the things I learned as a teacher was getting a master's degree helped my salary. So, I got my Administrative MS in the first year. I didn't need it for the job or to teach and I had no interest in moving up to assistant principal. What I found out is that the degree got me to the table. When a Principal would say you can't have a computer in the classroom because they are media and should stay in the media center. I knew how to respond with professional authority. I could speak admin. When the business manager cut my funding request for technology I got my Chief Business Management Endorsement (more graduate courses), I then could speak budgets. When the board said no to my 1:1 proposal (in 1987). I got my EdS and was elected to my local school board. I could speak school board. When I wanted to publish I got my EdD and finished my dissertation in 2017. I could speak.

    Do you need the degree? First question is who do you want to talk to. The second is will they understand what you are saying. The degree both gets you a better seat at the table and helps you understand those that are making the decisions. If you are comfortable in a supporting role, others will make the decisions. If you want to help write the play, you need credentials.

    Do you need a title change? I've been called lots of things, but I'm still happily married after 39 years. However, the titles reflect the status in most Fredrick Taylor based organizations. In education, they are often directly linked to authority level. This is both from the outside view and the inside perspective. For example, a community foundation will be more inclined to be working with the Assistant Superintendent than the Network Administrator, even though they may have the same role. The new member of the school board will also see Network Administrator as a lower position than a Chief Technology Officer. You can try to educate them about your job, but if you have the role you should have the title. If you don't have the credentials and the level of authority than you won't receive the respect that decision makers need to persuade them to support your causes. If you don't want the job pressures that come with that level of respect, then don't ask for the title and don't get the credentials. There is nothing wrong with being happy with doing a good job for others that want to lead.

    So, the question isn't, "does the superintendent need to change the title of your job?" The question is, "what job do you want and do you want to lead the change?"

    Either one of the following is fine but one gets me where I want to be:



    John Sonnenberg, BS, MS, EdS, EdD, CSBO, CETL

    John Sonnenberg
    Round Lake IL
    (847) 922-5572