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Weigh in on the ISTE Standards for Administrators

By Annette Smith
December 18, 2017
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“Leaders get people moving. They energize and mobilize. They take people and organizations to places they have never been before. Leadership is not a fad, and the leadership challenge never goes away.” —James Kouzes & Barry Posner, The Leadership Challenge.

Leadership and organizations are deeply connected, and with leaders defining success, it is crucial that they be engaged and mindful. In our rapidly changing society, educational institutions require leaders with clear vision, knowledge of design and change processes, and the ability to adapt as the organization moves forward on the learning journey.

As leadership continues to evolve, so do the standards that define a leader. ISTE is committed to supporting leaders and staying current in today’s educational space and is dedicated to hearing your voice, gathering your input and creating standards that you can use and adopt to improve your leadership practice during our refresh of the ISTE Standards for Administrators.

Already we have seen more interest in the refresh of these standards than ever before. Leaders are reaching out for assistance to help maneuver the ever-changing learning landscape.

At ISTE 2017 we started this process with open feedback from stakeholders, including thought leaders in the field of education, other education and leadership organizations, and individuals passionate about education and technology. ISTE and our working teams reviewed the first round of feedback with an eye toward the future. Out of those deep conversations emerged a number of overarching themes.

  • Empowering leadership - How can and should an administrator inspire and empower everyone in the system?

  • Leading change - What does effective change in the digital age look like and how do you communicate it?

  • Equity and citizenship - How can and should digital tools be used to advocate for equity and drive citizenship?

  • Systems planning and design - What must a leader consider and plan for throughout their technological and learning systems?

  • Continuous learning - How can a leader leverage digital tools to extend and model their own ongoing learning?

It’s your turn to join thousands of of your colleagues from around the world in providing input on the first draft of the ISTE Standards for Administrators. These standards will help define what it means to be a visionary leader in today's educational environment.

ISTE released refreshed ISTE Standards for Educators in 2017 and ISTE Standards for Students in 2016. These new administrator standards should support operationalizing of the standards for students and educators. It is the administrator who provides the vision for what learning should look like and your participation will allow us to pinpoint the characteristics that really matter in the administrator/leader role.

We urge educators and leaders at all levels to review the first draft and add your perspective or lead a feedback session with your colleagues using an ISTE-provided toolkit. By engaging in the refresh of the ISTE Standards, you are influencing the future of leadership in schools and its impact on students. Join the movement and lend your voice at

Dr. Annette Smith and Kara Gann work on the core team for the ISTE Standards for Administrators refresh. Annette earned her Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from University of Wisconsin-Madison and is the director of instructional technology at Kara Gann holds a M.Ed. in administration and is the strategic account manager at Schoology. They both served on the ISTE Board of Directors, earned Presidential Service Awards and ISTE Making IT Happen awards, and have over 60 years of combined educational experience. Smith and Gann co-own Smith and Gann Educational Consulting.

 Start with the empowered learner course to bring the ISTE Standards to life through online PD.