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Spring 2019 Issue One
Lorrie Owens
Lucky 13
Executive Director’s Message by Andrea Bennett

As this issue is printed, the 13th cohort of the CETPA Chief Technology Officer Mentor Program will have begun. This means it has been about 15 years since we began discussions with FCMAT about developing the program.

The initial concept for developing a CTO program began when a FCMAT study required a salary and position study of 25 school district technology directors. This data was compared with Chief Business Officers in these districts. FCMAT discovered a disparity in pay and position and it was attributed to the work CASBO was doing in the CBO Mentor program to increase the professionalism of CBOs. There were also several FCMAT studies done that showed that the role of the Director of Technology position was changing rapidly and there was no professional development geared specifically to that role. The idea of a CTO training program based on the CBO Mentor concept was presented to the CETPA board and accepted as a goal for our organization. We copied that timeline, created eight sessions and setup a Friday night and all-day Saturday schedule. We did change the begin and end dates to coincide with our Annual Conference in the fall. Originally, all classes were held in Sacramento.

Creating the curriculum was one of the best professional experiences of my career. So far. We recruited about 15-16 Technology Directors from around the state and met at least monthly, sometimes more. The dedication impressed me so much because everyone was so passionate about it. We divided up the topic areas and created work groups for each. We knew we were not building a “technical” program but rather a program that teaches the leadership skills necessary as an IT Leader in education. The Director of Technology role was changing, and the challenges were unique to K-12. IT leaders need to understand a wide array of business areas such as human resources, organizational management, project management, fiscal management, facilities, and they must also understand the “education side.” Oh yeah, and then there is the increasing use of technology in every department of the organization, creating the need for data privacy, security, maintenance, training, and support.

We worked for almost two years before we launched the first cohort, and honestly, the curriculum has never been “finished.” We update it all year long, every year to ensure that it stays relevant. In the beginning, the classes were more like extended conference presentations, filled with PowerPoint slides and handouts. The instructors were practicing CTOs but weren’t given much in the way of andragogy training. But the information was exactly what was needed and the program flourished.

The dedication to the program of that first Steering Committee flowed over to the candidates, mentors, and instructors. Each cohort has felt a true sense of community build and last. True, not everyone was successful, and a few did not think it valuable, but we know we will not please everyone, all the time. It’s not a taco. In fact, those who were not successful are considered successes because they understood that the lead IT role may not be the best fit for them. This kept them from possibly getting into the position and failing or leaving.

Today we have a valuable, well-respected program that is recognized increasingly by Superintendents and HR departments as a much-desired certification. This is a result of that continued dedication by the Steering Committee, mentors, and instructors, even though the members of those groups have changed over the years. We have instituted an instructional coach position so the instructors have extra support and resources. Graduates leave the program with a complete body of work to be proud of and to add to their professional portfolios. Many return as mentors and we have a rotating graduate seat on the Steering Committee so that each year we hear from a recent graduate.

I am very proud of the program and the CETPA Board of Directors’ commitment to it. The 13th cohort is filled with 20 new candidates, returning, new mentors, instructors, and the amazing Laurel Nava managing everyone. It will be another great year

Publications Library

Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Fall 2019 PDF (23.28 MB) Administration 12/13/2019
Summer 2019 PDF (3.67 MB)  more ] Administration 7/23/2019
Spring 2019 PDF (4.75 MB)  more ] Administration 7/23/2019
Fall 2017 PDF (6.64 MB) Administration 5/13/2019
Fall 2018 PDF (41.2 KB) Administration 5/13/2019
Spring 2018 PDF (4.48 MB) Administration 5/13/2019
Winter 2018 PDF (2.68 MB) Administration 5/13/2019