Two thought leadership councils are convening to help school districts continue to advance education technology across the country.

As part of a three-pronged network strategy, the Center for Digital Education is bringing together 15 superintendents in one council and 15 chief academic officers in another council that will provide insight into technology decisions over the next year. 

"The three most critical positions in a school district for making decisions around technology investments are the superintendent, the chief academic officer and the chief technology officer," said Kecia Ray, executive director of the Center for Digital Education (CDE). "We already have a network of chief technology officers that is stellar, so to add in the superintendents and the chief academic officers gives us the trifecta of decision-making power in school districts." 

CDE Senior Fellow Jay Steele will lead the chief academic officers' group, which is holding its first in-person retreat this week. At the meeting in Florida, members will collaborate in breakout sessions on teaching and learning; classroom design and school infrastructure; and business and community support. Then they'll share with the larger group what they discussed. Some of the members include Cheryl Logan from the School District of Philadelphia, Chris Russo from Portland Public Schools in Oregon and Marie Izquierdo from Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida. By the time the 2017 cohort is announced, the center will publish a paper that incorporates the ideas of these chief academic officers to continue advancing digital learning.

On the other side, CDE Senior Fellow Susan Brooks-Young will be leading superintendents in collaborative efforts that focus on incorporating technology into every aspect of running a school district, including human resources, operations, facility management and curriculum, Ray said. The center and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, worked together to create a cohesive network of superintendents whose members include S. Dallas Dance from Baltimore County Public Schools, Luvelle Brown from Ithaca City School District in New York and Pat Murphy from Arlington Public Schools in Virginia.

Ultimately the center's vision is for these groups of chief academic officers, superintendents and chief technology officers to share annually what they've been working on and forecast what might happen in the following year with education technology. In the meantime, they have plenty of groundwork to lay in their first year for the 2017 cohort to build on.