New Special Report: 4 Key Decision-Makers Who Shape K-12 Purchasing and Policy

Managing Editor
4 Key School District, Personas, EdWeek Market Brief

A new special report from EdWeek Market Brief offers a revealing portrait of the roles that four key decision-makers in school systems—superintendents, district academic officers, district technology officers, and school principals—play in making decisions about products.

The report, Key School District Personas: 4 Decision-Makers Who Shape K-12 Purchasing and Policy, looks at those administrators’ backgrounds, and what they want from education companies that are either working with their school systems or attempting to establish relationships.

The report gives education company leaders essential background intel they and their staff members need before heading into meetings or joining Zoom or phone calls with district or school leaders. It’s part of the homework package that vendors should have done well before the conversation takes place.

The report draws from a variety of recent surveys conducted by the EdWeek Research Center for EdWeek Market Brief, the most recent of which was completed last fall of 359 district administrators.

It also draws from the reporting of the EdWeek Market Brief editorial team, whose staff spoke to district administrators about the process they follow in making buying and policy decisions. EdWeek Market Brief Staff Writer Emma Kate Fittes, for instance, details how top officials in technology and instruction in the Caddo Parish Public Schools in Louisiana work as a unit, rather than operating in silos.

Keith Burton, the district’s chief academic officer, pointed to his coordination with Caddo Parish’s chief technology officer on not just digital policy, but major questions about teaching and learning.

“Instead of being with me only at the end and adding the additional technology component, now he is sitting with me,” said Burton. “We are integrating all of the options from the initial planning component until we are supporting it in the classroom.”

The report offers insights on the following:

  • A profile of the professional backgrounds of superintendents, district academic officers, district technology officers, and principals, from the time they’ve spent in their current positions to their ages to the types of jobs they held before moving into those posts.
  • The core duties and responsibilities that those officials say they’re expected to oversee, with options including writing strategic plans, managing professional development, reviewing product usage data, meeting with vendors, considering print and digital curriculum purchases, and acting as a liaison with the school board.
  • District and school leaders’ preferred methods for learning about vendors’ products, from meeting in-person or virtually to gathering information at conferences to webinars and whitepapers.
  • What the four key decision-makers consider “evidence” for products, from the results of pilot tests to rigorous, independent research to teacher recommendations.

And much more. Click here to download the report, or if you’re not an EdWeek Market Brief member, to learn more about getting access to all of our coverage, research, and intel.