eSchool News posted an interesting article about the relationship between a CTO (Chief Technology Office) and her/his Superintendent. In a nutshell, they say you should be a good servant - communication and trust are the key ingredients.
I don't agree.
The role of a good CTO in any organization is to:
- Know your business (i.e. the business of your employer); know it really well, and have total clarity on how success is defined, measured and achieved.
- Know the ICT landscape as it relates to your business (not just the mainstream, but the periphery too); most critically, know where it's heading three to five years out; and know where others in your industry are heading.
- Be a leader and visionary within your organization, championing the best of #2 where it materially contributes to #1, or where it will in the future materially contribute to #1.
- Work with other ICT leaders in the business to make sure you have an ICT infrastructure that offers the most flexibility and latitude to be whatever it needs to be today and tomorrow with minimal change/remediation.
- Be the force, help others use it, and use it wisely.
Anything else is too small, too narrow, and actually the job of an IT implementer vs. a CTO.
If a school system has a CTO, the implication is that they invested in this resource because they view ICT as a strategic advantage to achieve even more excellent learning outcomes for their students.
For a legitimate CTO that takes this role on without that kind of affirmation, I regret that unless you got lucky, you're in for an unhappy reality.
Communication and trust are important for every employee. The CTO needs to be more and have more. Much more.