While many school districts had already reported investing in digital learning devices and platforms prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most didn’t expect online education to become a requirement for millions of students by the turn of the decade. With this shift, school chief information officers suddenly found themselves leading discussions about how to change the very nature of public education in the months and years ahead.

Santa Fe Public Schools Chief Information and Strategy Officer Tom Ryan said K-12 CIOs now have to serve as “digital leaders” to guide K-12 digital transformation efforts. Rather than solving IT problems as they arise and acting on the orders of school boards and superintendents, he said school IT leaders now provide officials with insights on how to best utilize technology for instruction.

“If it’s the old break-fix CIO that says, ‘Call me when you’ve…

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