Rand Hansen, Ed.D.
A teacher collaborates with others online

Each quarter, the ISTE Board of Directors gathers to provide strategic leadership, offer financial oversight and plan for the organization’s future. Our most recent meeting focused on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on schools and the complexities of reopening. These conversations are being held in schools and universities worldwide. Things are changing, vaccines are being administered at a record pace, businesses and organizations have reopened, and school leaders are considering their road forward. 

As ISTE CEO Richard Culatta said recently, “Crisis doesn't cause innovation, it sets the conditions for creative people to redefine the future.” Those conditions are in place now, and it’s important for educators and school leaders to recognize the moment as an opportunity for transformational change.

Of course, change is never easy. And current change efforts are compounded as we work to translate the past year’s unpredictable conditions into future action plans. That’s certainly the case for the ISTE board, which has spent the past turbulent year focused on three critical areas to guide our strategic planning: our mission, our members and stakeholders, and improving our overall organizational effectiveness.

  ISTE’s mission to solve tough problems in education, transform teaching and learning, and accelerate innovation guides all decisions we make during these challenging times. After all, having clear sightlines to what your organization values and strives to accomplish creates a solid foundation and lens for charting a course during an uncertain future. 

Also important is knowing your stakeholders and their needs, expectations and goals. One size doesn’t fit all, especially in education. Redefining the future should be inclusive of all points of view and exceptionalities, and those principles are important at ISTE as we strive to understand and support members and partners. Which is why we engaged the entire ISTE community as we transitioned our learning opportunities; bolstered collaborations and partnerships; and worked to expand our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

Over the past 12 months, we also focused on leveraging innovation and efficiencies to better support our stakeholders. When face-to-face professional learning was not possible, ISTE took our events virtual, developed new delivery platforms and found as many ways as possible to connect the education community. 

Just like all organizations and leaders worldwide, ISTE had to make some tough choices over the past year. Having a mission-driven focus and understanding of what we, our members and our stakeholders value has allowed us to successfully navigate these times. As we look to the future, ISTE will continue to focus on its mission and vision to ensure we’re meeting the needs of our community. We’d like to hear from you about how we’re doing. I invite you to connect with us by emailing board@iste.org or using #ISTEBoard on social media.

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Rand Hansen, Ed.D., is ISTE board president.