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City Seeks IT Leader; Education Entity Hires Innovation Chief

The staffing changes at the two governments, one a Northern California stalwart, the other a statewide system, will likely shape what they do in tech for years to come.

San Francisco
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One Bay Area city is now on the hunt to replace a pioneering IT leader, and a state-level educational entity has filled a key innovation position.

The consolidated city-county of San Francisco has mounted a recruitment for its next chief digital services officer — prompting the person who originated that role, Carrie Bishop, to highlight the job opening on Twitter Thursday, writing: “If you think you can take this exceptional team to the next level, get on it ... .” (Bishop has also written a retrospective on “Five years of Digital Services in San Francisco.”) Among the takeaways on the recruitment:

  • The role that’s open now is chief digital services officer, but in the recruitment, officials called on prospective applicants to “join our team” and wrote, “If you don’t see a role that’s a fit right now, join our mailing list below so we can update you when new positions are posted.” The position is part of a group aimed at helping “change culture and practices,” per the listing notice.
  • “You’ll need to roll up your sleeves to work on the development, operation, and improvement of complex digital services,” it said. “As part of this new team, you’d have an opportunity to shape the city’s approach to digital services.” Its mission is to “make it easy for all residents to access the city’s 967 services online, from any device,” according to the listing, which described Digital Services as reaching “an exciting moment of change.”
    “Having established credibility and a track record of delivery, the team must now turn its attention to scaling. The team must scale its impact by empowering other departments to build services themselves, using platforms provided by Digital Services,” the listing said.
  • Major position functions include offering “strong, visionary leadership which helps transform city service delivery in line with the goals set out in the city’s Digital Services Strategy; leading a team of 50 that includes designers, engineers, and product managers, as well as project and implementation teams” and a budget of roughly $14 million for “personnel and non-personnel”; and ensuring digital services “are built with equity, inclusion and accessibility as core design and technical principles.” Qualifications include a bachelor’s degree and five years’ “managerial experience leading technology-enabled change in a large complex organization.” Desirable qualifications include the “proven ability to develop excellent relationships, to manage a wide range of senior stakeholders and technical experts, and to coordinate the delivery of complex programs and policy approaches,” as well as the “proven ability to lead and develop a highly skilled specialist team of designers, engineers and product managers working in an Agile way.”
  • Bishop invited DMs on Twitter from prospective applicants and answered some potential FAQs in a comment to her post. The recruitment, she said, “will stay open until the city finds a badass to replace me.” San Francisco, she added, “is not totally opposed to supporting a work visa for the right candidate, but if you don’t have a visa make it clear in your application.” The position, which Bishop took in February 2017, was her first in the U.S.
In a recent appointment, California Community Colleges (CCC) Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley announced Jan. 14 that Dr. Valerie Lundy-Wagner has been named vice chancellor of the system’s Digital Innovation and Infrastructure Division after serving as its interim leader. She’ll continue to oversee technology and research for the system, the CCC said in a news release, and will spearhead “a variety of internal and external initiatives overseeing information technology systems, implementation of systemwide technology investments, and application of research into evidence-based policy.”
Dr. Valerie Lundy-Wagner
Dr. Valerie Lundy-Wagner

“As we continue to press forward with our critical mission to eliminate equity gaps, increase enrollment and transfer rates, and boost the numbers of those earning certificates and degrees via Guided Pathways, we are confident she will continue to play a significant guiding role for the benefit of our students,” Oakley said in a statement.

Lundy-Wagner joined the Chancellor’s Office in February 2020 and has also served as its assistant vice chancellor for Research and Data. A Richmond native and a former assistant professor and faculty fellow at New York University, she’s also worked at the Community College Research Center, considered an authority on community college research and reform; at national nonprofit Jobs for the Future; and at policy research and advocacy group California Competes. She has a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles; a master’s in education from Stanford University; and a doctorate in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania.

CCC comprises 73 districts and 116 colleges that serve 2.1 million students annually. Its Digital Innovation and Infrastructure Division is charged with improving students’ experience and outcomes with tech-centered initiatives, “high-quality IT services and innovative practices”; and plays “an instrumental role in manifesting” Vision for Success, the Chancellor’s Office’s strategic plan aimed at better student successes, higher transfer rates and fewer to no “achievement gaps.” Guided Pathways provides CCC students with “clear course-taking patterns” to help them succeed.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.