CoSN 2009 Conference – Visionary IT

by Jean Tower

I attended a breakout session, Building a Visionary IT Organization: Best Practices.
The presenters were Fran McTigrit (Katy, TX) and Curtis Cearley (Fayette County, NC). They addressed competing priorities, and how to balance their time, efforts, and resources. This was a good session.

Ms. McTigrit shared her foundation goals:

  • Technology must be cost effective
  • Technology must be sustainable
  • Technology must be a “value add” in the education of today’s digital learner

In Katy, they believe that engaged end users help guide IT decisions. It enables them to prioritize based on user needs. One thing that helped them to better meet user needs is standardization of processes, changes and releases.

Mr. Cearley said that when he came to work in Fayette County he found the technology department was more reactive than proactive, often responding to the crisis du jour . Their strategy was to tightly couple the work of the IT department to the district strategic plan. This provided an impetus for the technology staff to think more long-term and strategically. They also felt more integral to the strategic plan, which improved morale and increased collaboration. They moved from 30 different islands (30 schools) to an integrated whole. The funniest thing he said was this: “I open my network up to 22,000 hackers every day,” a light-hearted way to open the discussion of network security issues.

CoSN 2009 Conference

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