“I want a person who is a good classroom teacher and because of that they understand what teachers and administrators are going through,” Sherman says.
Technology managers also need to be go-getters.
“I need people who are self-starters. People who are willing to take the initiative,” Sherman says. “You can’t just sit back and think classroom teachers or coaches are going to call you up and ask you to do something. You have to initiate the action, otherwise it’s not going to happen.”
This goes back to being an innovator and leading and developing new technology projects and opportunities.
“A tendency toward action is important,” says Tower. “You can’t be in evaluation mode forever.”
In other words, it’s important to not only identify opportunities, but to pursue them. Conversely, it also typically falls upon a tech manager to provide over eager school administrators with a healthy dose of reality when it comes to implementing technology initiatives.
Technology leaders are often under immense pressure to get things done and see results. In many cases, this is true even before the details have been properly thought through.
“Part of our job as tech leaders is to say well, let’s play this movie forward and think about this,” Tower says.
It’s easy for administrators, parents or the school board to get excited about an idea or an initiative, but part of being a tech leader is making sure the district has the resources and the budget to make it happen.
“If someone suggests this great project, but it’s just not in the budget then it’s part of our job to educate people on how they might make it more budget-friendly, or how it can be phased out over several years, or that it’s just not doable,” Tower says.
This goes back to communication, the essential component of any successful relationship.
“One of the things that I keep hammering again and again is the idea of building good relationships with the people that you’re working with,” Sherman says. “Whether it’s teachers, administrators, students or parents, build those relationships because that is what is going to make you successful.”