Lucy Mariappa, Chief Information Officer of International Leadership of Texas (ILTexas), is a transformational CIO and an innovator driven to find the right solutions to the most complex business challenges, even during a crisis. She is a certified CIO and a global technology leader, who previously worked at industry-leading organizations including SAP and Oracle. Recently International Leadership of Texas, with its CIO Lucy Mariappa, was announced as a 2021 US CIO 100 Award Winner. Lucy joined ILTexas as a brand-new Chief Information Officer (CIO) on March 16, 2020, the first day of the national shutdown. When COVID-19 shut down the nation and schools, ILTexas committed to transitioning to virtual school (VS) within five days. This commitment was set by visionary Founder and Superintendent Eddie Conger, who gathered his cabinet and made it clear that not educating students was not an option. ILTexas is a free, public charter school system serving K-12 students at 20 campuses across Texas.
“Accelerating the digital transformation journey is key to drive the business ahead.”
On her first day, Lucy was charged with leading Technology initiatives to pivot to virtual school, which included - getting devices to every student, providing teachers with technology & training needed to launch classrooms, ensure security and support, all in just five days. On the sixth day, on March 23, 2020, more than 19,500 students and 2250 staff members logged into their new, virtual classrooms, in full uniform, ready to learn. Under Lucy’s direction, the Technology division rolled out innovative solutions every week to make virtual schools successful and to lead the digital transformation initiatives to drive the organization ahead. Lucy credits her awesome Technology division team's extraordinary efforts, a very supportive Senior Leadership Team, and visionary Superintendent, Eddie Conger, for these successes. She is grateful to the teachers, campus leadership, and staff members of various divisions whose collaboration and teamwork was key in executing these initiatives. In a nutshell, she says “It was truly teamwork makes the dream work. I feel very fortunate to have the honor to serve and support this dream team”.
The ILTexas pandemic response and innovative solutions rolled out by the Technology division under Lucy’s leadership has received national attention and has been featured on several national media publications. Education Secretary Betsy Devos first recognized ILTexas’ efforts in April of 2020 at a White House briefing, and again when she visited ILTexas and praised the efforts and innovative solutions the Technology division was able to deliver to continue education. Madam Secretary said to Lucy “Congratulations on your quick adoption of remote learning. The fact that Texas has looked to you for a platform that others can learn from is a great credit to what you and your team here has done”.
This commitment to ensuring that students continued growth led to an 8 percent growth in student enrollment without opening any new campuses and despite the pandemic challenges. The success of virtual school also helped ILTexas to open ILTexas RCI (Remote Classroom Instruction) to students in the entire state of Texas, even where we did not have physical campus locations, hence helping to penetrate new markets.
“What makes ILTexas different is its philosophy of doing whatever it takes, legally, morally, and ethically, for student success. We are an innovative organization that puts our students, their families, and their needs above all else. Our commitment to student success is what keeps us ahead of the competition,” says Lucy. “Additionally, our Superintendent and team of Chiefs are forward thinkers who refuse to allow challenges to get in the way of successes. As a team, we support one another, while also pushing each other to be better in our careers, and as individuals.” The mission of ILTexas is to prepare students for exceptional leadership roles by emphasizing servant leadership, mastering the English, Spanish, and Chinese languages, and strengthening the mind, body and character.
Lucy has a complete 360-degree view and experience in IT products and solutions - from leading the global product development at technology companies to implementing it as a Consultant for fortune 500 companies, to now using it as a Customer. She also worked in various industries in both the private and public sectors. Having this experience throughout the breadth & depth of Technology helps her in addressing the business needs effectively and quickly.