Richard Culatta, chief executive officer at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), brings vast experience to his job, including serving as chief innovation officer for the state of Rhode Island. In this month’s questionnaire, we asked him about his goals for ISTE, how to improve the education system, and his favorite movie star.

What is ISTE’s mission?

ISTE’s mission is to discover and share the most effective approaches for using technology to solve tough problems in education. We do that by setting the vision for how technology can transform learning through the ISTE Standards by creating communities of educators (through our online professional learning communities and our events), and providing a variety of learning opportunities online and through our books and journals.

What are your top three goals for ISTE?

  • Establish a new and shared vision for how technology can be used to support teaching and learning.
  • Increase focus on using technology to solve persistent equity gaps.
  • Support education leaders in creating the strategy for how technology should support learning in their schools.

If you could provide one piece of advice to principals in the technology area, what would it be?

You cannot delegate the vision for how technology will be used to support learning to your IT team. The responsibility of knowing how to use technology effectively rests with the school leader.

What is your favorite sports team and why?

The Blue Dragons. Yes, that is my kiddo’s soccer team. And, yes, I prefer watching kids’ games over professional sports any day!

What can be most improved in today’s educational system?

One of the most significant hurdles that we have to address is the transition from a one-size-fits-all model to an approach where learning experiences are personalized to the needs of every learner. (Hear more from Culatta on that here:

What is your favorite book and why?

My favorite education book at the moment is Heidi Williams’ new book No Fear Coding: Computational Thinking Across the K–5 Curriculum. My favorite noneducation book is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.  

Who is your favorite movie star and why?

Robin Williams. I love how versatile he was and his ability to improvise. I also believe that humor is a key element to addressing tough problems. Sometimes we just need to be able to laugh at things that go wrong, and then try again.

What’s your motto?

I’m not sure if it counts as a motto, but William Gibson once said, “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.” My goal is to be a future-distributor. Of course, if you were to ask my wife, she would tell you that my motto is, “If you wait till the last minute, it only takes a minute.”