Frankie J. Jackson has a few key pieces of advice for women who aspire to IT and edtech leadership positions in K-12.
- Be as qualified as you can be: Earn a certification in edtech leadership and take advantage of opportunities for ongoing education to burnish credentials. “I tell women aspiring to IT leadership to not give anything up, don’t leave anything up for debate, don’t leave anything up to chance,” says Jackson, a longtime former K-12 CIO who is now an edtech leadership coach. Aspiring edtech leaders now have more options with the growing availability of online professional development programs.
- Establish a life-work balance: Women IT leaders, particularly those with younger children and families, can set boundaries while also fulfilling the duties of a demanding job—which means they may miss out on some family time. Women are sometimes reluctant to mention family responsibilities for fear of falling behind their male colleagues but that can also lead to overwork and burnout, Jackson warns. “Be very clear about what you need to be successful,” Jackson advises. “When you value work-life balance, there’s a certain element of respect that comes with that.”
- It takes confidence: Speak out about your needs while taking care of all the things you can control, such as your proficiency and level of education.”If you want to be in a high-level position, there will be some concessions that need to be made,” Jackson says. “Do whatever it takes to find a good support system.”
Jackson will provide more details during one of her presentations at the 2023 Future of Education Technology® Conference in New Orleans in January: “Developing Women in K-12 Information Technology Leadership Positions.”
Also critical for women in edtech leadership are the so-called “soft skills,” such as relationship building and communications, that Jackson believes come more naturally to women. “Accept the fact you’re a female, that you’re moving in an upward progression of a career, so be very clear about what you need to be successful,” Jackson concludes.
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Trust Black Women in EdTech: Update: Elevating the expertise of IT employees of color—especially Black women—is key to ensuring that educational technology is inclusive and equitable. The discussion will cover how equity work in the areas of recruitment, retention, and celebration can bring Black women to the forefront of education and educational technology. Presenter: Victoria Thompson, education industry executive at Microsoft Education.
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