August 01, 2014

Successful Technology Directors

5 things that can help you to become successful as a technology director.

Everyday I meet with technology directors.  Some already have a very successful track record and others are just starting out in their careers.  Here are some of my observations about what makes a successful technology director.

  1. Training and education: Being a part of the education field for so many years has taught me that there is nothing more important than education and training.  You have to constantly keep learning.  Attend as many training classes as possible; encourage your staff to continue their education.  Cross-train everyone. Money is always a concern, so send different people to training who will come back and teach each other on what you have learned.   This trains the staff in many different subjects.
  2. Trade shows: One of the hardest tasks for a director is to plan for many years in advance. Attending trade shows allows you to learn where the market is going and where you should be planning to go.  Every year after the trade shows, your team will have something new that they want to implement for your district.   Make sure and take calls from vendors and manufacturers to see what new they have to offer.  Always keep an open mind; you never know what you may learn.
  3. Prepare your network: You can never be satisfied with your network the way it is today.  You have to be upgrading and planning for tomorrow.  Make sure that the network is ready for whatever the superintendent of schools wants to do. If your network is ready when the superintendent calls on it, you will be successful.  Many superintendents have never looked at the network as a vital asset.  Today however, with online testing and job performance dependent on online testing, superintendents and teachers are understanding how important the network is.
  4. Train someone to replace you:  Never be the person who hides information from someone else.  Share everything with your team.  Train someone to be second in command. Once you have trained someone to take your place you will be able to attend more conferences and trade shows without the world falling apart.  You want what you have worked so hard on to be successful even when you are not there.  This shows great leadership and will allow you to be promoted.  You will never get promoted if no one can take your place.
  5. Join a local technology group and get involved.  As a technology director I was a member of Tennessee Educational Technology Association (TETA). I served on the TETA board before taking my current position.  Being a member of this group helped me be more successful than I would have ever been as a lone wolf.  This organization meets once a month, they plan for E-Rate and state objectives and much more.  I have to say that the people in TETA make up one of the finest technology organization in the country and helped me more than any one thing in my career.

To be successful as a technology director takes more than just achieving these five objectives.  I have listed these five because they have had great impact for me.  Make sure that you are in every school and regularly meeting with your principals, fellow supervisors, and teachers to understand their objectives.  The students today are highly tech savvy and we have to be able to supply them with the latest technology so that they will continued to be challenged every day.  I have always told my team that they worked hard every day to face the challenges of each day.  I had to be the one planning for tomorrow and giving them the tools they needed so they would be prepared for tomorrow’s problems.  The number one rule in education is that everything revolves around the learner.  Remember this rule in everything you do and you will also be successful.

About The Contributor:
Jerry YarboroughEducation Specialist

Jerry Yarborough is one of the Education Specialists for Extreme Networks. He has worked in Education as a computer technician and as the Director of Technology for 18 years. During his years in education he upgraded and completely replaced two networks. Jerry was also responsible for E-Rate, BYOD, 1 to 1 deployments, student applications, and county wide software.

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