Publication Date

Summer 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Information Technology

First Advisor

Rich Manprisio

Second Advisor

Mohammed Salam

Third Advisor

George Nkulenu


The role of technology in education has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. From the advent of individual workstations to networked labs to one-to-one technologies, computers have transformed how teachers and students consume information. School districts today support hundreds if not thousands of devices and end users. Technology supports mission critical systems like financial, human resources, library, and student information systems and ensures they are integrating rostering information to numerous third-party programs like Clever, Classlink or textbook specific websites. They also support the district operations as well by assisting in or managing building automation controls which can include lighting, heating and cooling along with physical security which includes security cameras and access control systems.

With this rapid change of technology’s usage, the rise in the individuals who support these systems and maintaining them have rapidly grown as well. Gone is the position that began as a part-time teacher who knew a little bit about computers. Now this person is a visionary leader for the school district. A pillar to any administrative team today is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) who is tasked with being a leader, a bridge between technology, operations and instruction, is collaborative and has a wide, diverse skill set.

Today’s CTO is paving the way forward integrating new technologies in the classroom, onsite and virtually, while ensuring that it is done in the safest and most secure ways. CTOs are looked upon as experts in their field who constantly research new opportunities, stay on top of trends and whose department has a hand in working with every employee in a school district.

With the rapid rise of cloud computing and more student data residing in the cloud, CTOs have been susceptible to third-party vendors data breaches or malware attacks. This is in addition to similar attacks that can happen internally with DDoS, ransomware or malware attacks on a school’s internal systems. CTOs must have a balance on understanding the needs of the present, looking at new future trends, and improving from the past.