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Affecting Change Through Effective Leadership - Kate L. Moore, former President of the Schools and Libraries Division
Leadership in education is an issue that is currently being discussed at many levels. Education leaders - whether they are school board members, superintendents, principals, teachers, technology coordinators or even students - all face a number of challenges and even roadblocks when integrating technology into the learning environment. Many school leaders embrace the opportunity to have modern classrooms and schools; however, this enthusiasm is coupled with, and often challenged by, the need to improve standardized tests score and overall student achievement.
In a conversation with Kate L. Moore, former President of the Schools and Libraries Division ("SLD") of the Universal Service Administrative Company (the organization that administers the E-rate), we talked about leadership in general and in relation to her experience leading the nation's largest education technology program for the past three years.
We began by looking at the characteristics of a leader. According to Ms. Moore, "leaders must be able to define a vision, possess good salesmanship; be attune to the existing environment; remain focused and be persistent."
Moore explained that while President of SLD, the leadership approach she embraces combined vision with action. To achieve her vision, she needed to mobilize resources that would help implement the E-rate effectively and efficiently. With this leadership approach in mind, here were several attributes that she believe contributed to the SLD's success:
Moore's advice to school leaders interested in building support for technology within their communities was that "success is a great salesman." She stated that if the school leader can demonstrate that technology has a positive, measurable impact on educational gains, then the chances for success increase geometrically.
She admitted that at the SLD, the tides of support began to shift once funding allocations were issued. It was when funding commitments were sent that the E-rate discounts became real. When this happened, "there was a sea change about the program - there was new commitment to the program, hope for the program; new supporters," explained Moore.
When it comes to utilizing technology to meet educational success, Moore suggests that school leaders do not necessarily need to know everything there is to know about technology. However, she stated, they need to understand and recognize the need for it and figure out how technology can work to benefit education in their schools. She suggests that school leaders turn to a stakeholder support group who can provide feedback on how technology is impacting student learning and achievement. She believes it is critical for teachers to understand how to utilize technology in order to be able to engage it successfully in the classroom. Moore encouraged professional development for teachers and school leaders and advocated more evaluation of learning outcomes with technology.
Kate L. Moore is an elementary school teacher in the District of Columbia. She resigned as President of the Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company in June 2001.