DENVER — As technology continues to change, schools are looking for leaders who possess specific characteristics that will help them prepare for the future.

These leaders may primarily serve in instructional technology, IT, curriculum or library areas, but the attributes they must have in order to move their schools forward remain the same, as a number of leaders shared at the ISTE annual conference June 26-29. 

1. Desire to learn

Life-long learners tend to be more flexible, curious and open-minded, and these are the types of leaders schools need on their side — no matter where they fall on the organization chart.

"What we're looking for is this mindset of, 'I don't know everything, but I want to learn,'" said Ginann Franklin, director of libraries and educational technology at Currey Ingram Academy in Brentwood, Tenn.

The academy combined its library and technology departments into one five-person unit that Franklin leads, and she expects the staff on her team to be willing to learn. Likewise, they need the humility to admit that they don't know everything.

2. Team oriented

As a technology director at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne, Fla., Susan Bearden hires people who are smarter than her and who are stronger in her weaker areas. That way, they can form a cohesive team that supports the academy's staff and students. Franklin said it's also important to be willing to work across IT and academic areas to do what's best for students. 

3. Visionary

Without a vision, it's harder to muster up support for new initiatives, technological changes and projects. But a leader who shares a vision with the team and keeps working toward that vision will find more followers. Brad Waid, a technology integration specialist at Bloomfield Hills Schools in Michigan, said that educators will follow a good leader who has a good vision almost anywhere.