Chief Innovation Officers Make Their Way into Schools

Posted by on August 19, 2013

The innovation leadership gap
Chief Innovation Officers Make Their Way into Schools

Chief innovation officers (CIOs) are surfacing in districts around the country to fill a leadership gap that some feel is holding back public education, writes Tanya Roscorla in Governing Magazine. Newark Public Schools has a CIO in multiple schools. Large urban systems including Detroit, Chicago, and Milwaukee have created the position in the last two years. And one smaller district in Illinois has inaugurated a CIO position to focus on innovation in technology and other areas. But the position looks different, depending on the district. The job description of the chief innovation officer in Community Consolidated School District 59 in Illinois has five components: technology vision and leadership; innovative learning; administrative professional development; communications; and community development. Detroit Public Schools has a chief innovation officer to better prepare students for college. “That may seem very small, and it sounds like a very simple task, but given the urban population that we serve, it’s proven to be extraordinarily difficult,” said Natasha Baker, who fills the position for the Detroit Public Schools. Having an Office of Innovation allows Detroit to have a central think tank that drafts ideas and then implements them. She also pushes schools to try different methods and leadership structures.

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