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Connecting K-12 District IT Leaders with Strategies, Leadership, Policies, Partners and Solutions to Prepare for What’s Next

The Changing Role of Technology Leaders

The summit is led by Lenny Schad, DA’s Chief Information and Innovation Officer and former CIO of Houston Independent School District in Texas, the nations 7th largest school district. Thought leadership sessions covering topics that are relevant to you sitting in the position today.

Learning session topics include:

  1. Defining the changing role of technology leaders
  2. Transformational leadership
  3. Review COSN’s annual leadership report
  4. Digital curriculum: What CIOs need to know
  5. Cybersecurity: What’s YOUR District Story

Accommodations, food, and entertainment will be provided by District Administration. Attendees will only be responsible for travel expenses.

To learn more about the CIO summit, please contact us at or (561) 622-0352

Leaders Inspiring Leaders

Past Featured Speakers

Juan Cabrera

Superintendent El Paso Independent School District

Juan Cabrera

Juan E. Cabrera became superintendent of the El Paso Independent School District on Sept. 3, 2013. Immediately prior to joining EPISD, Cabrera served as a school law attorney and advisor to school districts. Cabrera is a former elementary bilingual teacher, but spent 20 years away from the classroom working as a technology attorney and software executive. Cabrera graduated from Texas A & I University in 1988 and the University of Texas School of Law in 1996.

At the state level, Cabrera currently serves on Commissioner of Education’s Superintendents Cabinet and as founder and immediate past president of the Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents and the Texas Urban Council of Superintendents. He also serves on the state boards of the Minority Males Consortium, the Equity Center and the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium. Nationally, Cabrera serves on the Executive Committee of the Council of Great City Schools.

Achieving District-wide Transformation: A Superintendent’s Story

Hear first hand from a Superintendent, the role technology plays in achieving his vision for El Paso Independent School District. Mr. Cabrera will discuss what he expects from his technology leader and the role they play in strategic planning for the district. He will talk about the successes and failures they have experience on their transformation journey and how they have been able to keep the energy behind this effort.

Lenny Schad

Chief Information and Innovation Officer in Residence

Lenny Schad

Lenny Schad is the chief information and innovation officer for District Administration. Schad has been working in the technology field for 28 years where his career has taken him into many business sectors, and he has established a very successful leadership and management track record. His range of business-sector experience includes hospitality, government, oil and gas, investment banking, and education.

Highlights of his career include managing and leading technology departments for the 1991 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations and the 1992 Republican National Convention, and creating and managing technology departments for joint ventures and global organizations. Schad has worked in K12 education since 2003, and has successfully led implementations of BYOD and 1-to-1 in Katy ISD and Houston ISD, respectively. He is a board member for CoSN and IMS Global, and is a recognized leader whose innovative and process-oriented management styles have led to highly effective information technology departments.

The Changing Role of the CIO

The leaders of technology divisions must begin thinking of their role not in terms of providing “Technology Solutions” rather, they need to think of their role as being part of the “Classroom Experience.” As a technology leader you must face a new reality; because of the many cloud-based and digital service offerings, the organization can build their own solutions without you and your department. In order to avoid this CIO’s need to focus their time and energy on building relationships at every level in the organization. By establishing relationships and partnering with other leaders the technology department becomes the enabler to accomplishing the objectives in this changing landscape.

Serena Sacks

CIO, Fulton County Schools

Serena Sacks

Serena Sacks has been a transformational IT leader for over 30 years at IBM, Walt Disney World, Wyndham, Florida Virtual School and now Fulton County Schools. Ms. Sacks is passionate about leveraging technology to transform education through personalized learning.

She is currently implementing personalized learning at FCS with 85K mobile devices. She has certifications in Project Management, Six Sigma and Enterprise Governance. Ms. Sacks earned her B.A. and M.S. in an accelerated program at SUNY Stony Brook, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude and was recently named the Woman of the Year by the Technology Association of GA and is a finalist for CIO of the Year 2016.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” Peter Drucker

Learn why and how to build and sustain a culture of excellence that supports the Districts strategies and objectives. Through strengths finders, six sigma techniques, and a continual focus on leadership development, Fulton County Schools Information Technology Division exemplifies high performance. As a result, our students and schools are excelling through digital teaching and learning with quantifiable results. Tying together the messages from earlier presenters, Ms. Sacks will share her personal story of leading this large and diverse District’s IT function into the future for the benefit of our students.

Cathleen Norris

Professor, College of Information, University of North Texas

Cathleen Norris

Cathleen Norris is a Regents Professor in the Department of Learning Technologies, College of Information, at the University of North Texas, Denton, TX. From 1995-2001, Norris was President of the National Educational Computing Association, and led its merger with ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education, creating the largest, international organization for technology-minded educators in the world. Norris was Co-President of ISTE from 2001-2004. Norris’ 14 years in K-12 classrooms – receiving a Golden Apple Award from Dallas ISD along the way – has shaped her university R&D agenda: developing resources to support K-12 teachers as they move into 21st century classrooms.

The Digital Transformation of K-12: Where is the Digital Curricula?

Every industry, every organization – from the family to the government, from entertainment to manufacturing – is undergoing a digital transformation! Some transformations are speeding along; entertainment, no surprise, is a leader. K-12, no surprise, is lagging behind. With computing devices at the $100 level, and 10-year olds having smartphones (“they” just call them phones), 1-to-1 (if not 1 to many) is the new normal. But, where is the digital curricula – the open, engaging, extending, teacher/student adaptable curricula? The heartbeat of the classroom is still curricula – and digitized, closed, curricula is no longer acceptable. In our talk, we will explore the challenge, as we see it, of the digitally-transformed school.

Elliot Soloway

Professor, College of Engineering, University of Michigan

Elliot Soloway

Elliot Soloway is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. In 2001, the UMich undergraduates selected him to receive the “Golden Apple Award” as the Outstanding Teacher of the Year at the University of Michigan. In 2004 and in 2011, students in the College of Engineering HKN Honor Society selected Dr. Soloway to receive the “Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award.”

Anticipating the “mobile” explosion in K-12, Norris and Soloway founded GoKnow, Inc. in 2000, to provide educational software on mobile devices (Palm, PocketPC, etc.). Schools all over the world purchased over 30,000 licenses to GoKnow’s “Mobile Learning Environment.” In 2012, with initial funding from NSF and George Lucas Education Research, Norris and Soloway founded the Intergalactic Mobile Learning Center and built and are distributing the Collabrify Roadmap Platform, a free, device-independent, browser-based environment that supports teachers and students using digital curricula. And, recognizing that K-12 teachers need OER curricula – lessons, units – and not just OER objects or digitized material, in order to support their newly minted, 1-to-1, blended learning classrooms. Norris and Soloway, with support from Michigan’s Dept. of Education, founded, in April 2019, the Center for Digital Curricula (CDC). CDC’s mission is to provide model, OER, digital curricula to K-12 teachers to support K-12’s “digital transformation.”

The Digital Transformation of K-12: Where is the Digital Curricula?

Every industry, every organization – from the family to the government, from entertainment to manufacturing – is undergoing a digital transformation! Some transformations are speeding along; entertainment, no surprise, is a leader. K-12, no surprise, is lagging behind. With computing devices at the $100 level, and 10-year olds having smartphones (“they” just call them phones), 1-to-1 (if not 1 to many) is the new normal. But, where is the digital curricula – the open, engaging, extending, teacher/student adaptable curricula? The heartbeat of the classroom is still curricula – and digitized, closed, curricula is no longer acceptable. In our talk, we will explore the challenge, as we see it, of the digitally-transformed school.

William Rust

Former Research Director, Gartner, Inc.

William Rust

William D. (Bill) Rust is a former research director in Gartner Inc., the world’s leading IT research and advisory company, where for more than 15 years he led Gartner’s K-12 education research agenda. Prior to joining Gartner, Bill was director of technology for the Baltimore County Public Schools. In addition to his work with Baltimore County, Bill spent 10 years as adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University, where he taught graduate courses in the Technology for Education program.

Living in the Nexus of Leadership and Vision

There are K-12 CIOs who lead but have an nebulous, undeclared or otherwise uncertain future in mind. There are also CIOs who have great vision of where educational technology needs to go but are unable lead toward that goal. This session examines transformation leadership as a characteristic of CIOs who lead their organization on the pathway to a desired future state.

Keith Krueger


Keith Krueger

Keith R. Krueger is CEO of CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking), a nonprofit organization that serves as the voice of K-12 school system technology leaders in North America. CoSN’s mission to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Technology & Learning selected him as one of the “big 10” most influential people in ed tech in 2015. In 2008 he was selected by eSchool News as one of ten people who have had a profound impact on educational technology over the last decade. He serves on many Advisory Boards, including eSchool News, the Education Committee of the National Park System, the Friday Institute at NC State University, and the Wireless Reach Advisory Board. He is a past Board Member/Treasurer of the National Coalition on Technology in Education & Training (NCTET).

Inventing the Future of Learning: The Role of the CIO/CTO

Engage in a interactive conversation on how visionary leaders can design the future of teaching and learning. We will start by reviewing key priorities from CoSN’s 2019 IT Leadership national survey of district technology leaders. Then we will discuss the mega-trends shaping K-12 education from the 2019 Driving K-12 Innovation series of reports. Hear what the experts say are the “hurdles” we are trying to overcome, the “accelerators” that are driving change, and what are the “tech enablers” that support smoother digital leaps. We will explore if any of these trends relate to your school district priorities, and if so, how you might begin a conversation with key stakeholders. Finally, we will explore the key role of the education technology leader, as well of tips and resources from CoSN to make your job easier.

Dr. Julie Evans

CEO, Project Tomorrow

Dr. Julie Evans

Julie Evans is a National thought leader, researchers and advocate for the implementation of innovative learning environments in K-12 education. She has special expertise in the role of digital tools, content and resources to transform teaching and learning experiences. She has considerable accomplishments in developing innovative national and regional education reform programs and new research methodologies for evaluating the impact of emerging technologies.

The CIO’s New Role in Addressing the Chalkboard Challenge in America’s Classrooms

The CIO’s role and responsibilities today extend far beyond the server room.  When thinking about the role of technology in the learning imperative of America’s schools, the emerging role of the district CIO as an agent of education transformation is more important than ever.  Given a unique perspective on the value of technology, a new role for the CIO involves addressing how digital content, tools and resources are used effectively (or are not) to support enhanced teaching and learning.  In this interactive two-part session, we will explore the realities of technology use within the classroom by closely examining the authentic feedback of K-12 students, teachers, parents and administrators and then use those insights to frame the current challenges and potential leadership role of the CIO in influencing and impacting the learning experiences of students.

Dr. Kenneth Thompson

Chief Information Technology Officer, San Antonio ISD

Dr. Kenneth Thompson

Kenneth is the Chief Information Technology Officer for the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD).  He has more than 20 years’ experience in leading complex IT service delivery organizations and leveraging IT resources to assist K-12 organizations in achieving organizational goals.  Kenneth is most noted for enhancing the educational environment by working with stakeholders are different levels recommending, managing, and validating the appropriate technology resources and enterprise systems to facilitate learning while improving student performance by utilizing the appropriate technology tools and processes.

Driving A Successful Organizational Cultural Shift: “Manual or Automatic”

Regardless of the size of the organization, there are key considerations required in reference to the speed and frequency of change when realigning, reorganizing or implementing changes within a newly designed or seasoned technology organization.  Liken to a transmission in an automobile, decisions must be made as to when you shift automatically or for the leader to conduct manual shifts/decisions based on the current state of the department and organization.  There are key soft and hard skills required to ensure the overall success and operational efficiency for the department and the organization.  Critical to these decisions are in-depth assessments of the skills, assessment of resources and support of the current staff and senior staff.  Two critical components are ownership and buy-in from key players and the support of key departments and senior members of the organization.   When the expectations of and deliverable of internal and external stakeholders are managed it provides for a opportunity for success.  This component alone will either hinder or compliment your effort.

Summit Agenda

Day 1

  • 2:00P
    Welcome/Summit Opening
  • 2:30P
  • 5:00P
  • 5:20P
    Network Learning Activity
  • 6:45P
    Cocktail Hour/Dinner

Day 2

  • 7:30A
  • 8:30A
  • 8:35A
    Featured Speaker
  • 9:00A
    Focused Learning Session 2
  • 10:15A
    Thought Leader Presentation 3
  • 10:40A
    Thought Leader Presentation 4
  • 11:00A
    Focused Learning Session 3 (Part 1)
  • 11:35A
  • 12:45P
    Focused Learning Session 3 (Part 2)
  • 1:20P
    Birds of a Feather
  • 2:30P
    Breakout Sessions
  • 4:00P
    Personal Work Time
  • 6:00P
    Cocktail Hour/Dinner

Day 3

  • 8:00A
  • 9:00A
    Focused Learning Session 4
  • 10:40A
    Focused Learning Session 5
  • 11:40A
    Closing Keynote

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To learn more about membership with District Administration, please call (561) 622-0352.