Why are you interested in attaining CTO certification through this program? What career goals do you have in the next 2-5 years that this program would help you accomplish? Attaining a CTO certification would be most valuable in my career goals. At my current district, we do not have a CTO nor does the current director sit on cabinet. Our district will be seeking a new superintendent as the current one has announced his retirement. I see this as a unique opportunity for my current director, who graduated the CTO mentor program, to suggest a cabinet level representation for our IT department.
If this move were to happen, and my current director were to move to a CTO position, I would want to be ready to fill his Director of Information Technology position. The knowledge gained through this program would be instrumental for me not only to obtain a director level position but excel at it. I would also be willing to seek a director level position elsewhere after this certification program was complete.
After a few years and I have obtained the experience at that level, I would most defiantly seek out a CTO position. The material covered in this program will be invaluable in seeking out higher lever positions in the K12 technology field. The experience I can draw from will also provide concrete evidence that I am qualified and have the real-world experience for any director or CTO IT position. Once I have enough experience, I would defiantly want to pass on my knowledge and become a Mentor.
This will also give me the opportunity to share my experience at conferences and seminars would be very satisfying.
What is your understanding of the role of a CTO in a K-12 organization? What should the role be? The CTO in a K-12 organization should have many responsibilities. They should work with stakeholders to develop a shared vision with long-term, big-picture perspectives on district goals to plan for meaningful and effective uses of technology. This person should also provide leadership when creating a vision of how technology will help meet district goals. Establishing and leading advisory committees that inform and support meaningful and effective uses of technology in support of the district’s strategic goals is also a role for the CTO. They should facilitate the process of priority setting and decision making for meaningful and effective uses of technology in support of the district’s strategic goals. The CTO will also integrate technology with curriculum and instruction to provide an appropriate teaching and learning environment. They need to provide leadership in strategic alignment of technology with all district systems (instruction & assessment, finance, business, transportation, human resources, nutrition service, etc.) The CTO has to monitor, evaluate, and report on district’s educational technology plan. They should facilitate change in an organization and deal with ambiguity effectively. The role will require a demonstration of high standards of integrity and professional conduct with consideration for fairness and honesty and model and ensure adherence to state and federal laws. They will mentor and empower others to assume leadership roles; set clear objectives and measures; monitor process, progress, and results. On top of all that, they should have the technical expertise to lead a large Information Technology infrastructure and support staff.
The role of a CTO has expanded as technology has become increasingly integrated into instruction. What are your thoughts about effective ways to integrate technology priorities into cabinet, staff, and faculty discussions about teaching and learning? Technology plays a large part in our lives. Technology is used by children and adults on a daily basis by way of web surfing, texting, gaming, social networking and in more ways. Our daily lives have become more and more dependent on technology. Thus, the use of technology and teaching students on the use it has become a high priority in K12 schools. Today, there is a common focus on raising student achievement while integrating technology as a tool. All stakeholders are renewing their commitment to programs and instructional practices that enhance maximum effects on instruction and student outcomes. The use of technology in teaching and learning is essential if we are to make a lasting impact on how students learn. Now, even more with the onset of Common Core Standards and their emphasis on technology, the use of technology will become an even larger priority in schools. All stakeholders need to have a say in how these tools will be used in education. A CTO should be involved as a facilitator of technology utilizing all his or her skills to ensure a successful technology plan is executed. Technology integration is shown to be effective in all age groups and is also shown to be helpful for students with special learning needs. Technology integration has the following benefits: increased student motivation, increased student engagement, increased student collaboration, increased hands-on learning opportunities, allows for learning at all levels, increased confidence in students, Increased technology skills.
Referencing the required qualifications, briefly describe the professional experiences that make you a good candidate for the CTO Mentor Program. I have been involved in Information Technology for 20+ years. I started at a local web development company that opened when the World Wide Web was just starting. While I was there I became the infrastructure expert; installing, upgrading and configuring our in-house web and back-end servers. I then started working for a Defense Department contractor at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow, California. During my 4 years there I was able to fine tune my customer service skills. There was a high turn over of customers and I learned how to deal with many different personalities. I was part of a IT support team and was selected to serve as a project manager for their workstation roll-out and Novell to Active Directory conversion projects. In 2003 I applied for and obtained a technician job at Apple Valley Unified School District. I started as a technician for Granite Hills High School. For 7 years I was the primary support person for 2500+ students and 120+ staff. When I started at AVUSD I had very little knowledge of Mac OS X or Macs in general. Knowing this, I forced myself to use a Power Mac G3 as my primary workstation as I was required to support these systems. I quickly became very knowledgeable in OSX and became active in the Macintosh community online and in various groups in Southern California. I have been a guest, as an education technology expert on Mac specific podcasts and I was also a guest speaker at MacDayLA conference in 2008. In early 2012, our district had an opening for a Network Database Supervisor and I was able to acquire this position. This job was primarily responsible for our SQL servers and served as our Database Administrator. Since starting in this role, it has expanded. I have taken on more supervisory tasks, such as employee evaluations and handling employee discipline. We now have a Database specialist position that has taken most of the DBA and SQL management tasks, leaving me with the time to execute my supervisory tasks for our IT department of a staff of 18. I have also been a presenter at the Aeries User Conference many times and was a presenter at the 2017 CEPTA conference in Pasadena. I also currently serve as the co-chair of the High Desert Data.
What should we consider when matching you with a mentor? I am a pretty easy going person. I would prefer to meet in person but can do video conferencing. I have always had a passion for technology. Even from a young age, I can remember when I was a student in a k12 district I was involved with helping and integrating technology for teachers. I live to share my experience with other people. I would like to have my mentor share in this passion. I would need a mentor that could reign me in when my passion gets the best of me. I would also like to someone that can be flexible with the schedule as far as calls or meetings, my work sometimes can get hectic with unforeseeable issues arise. I have three adult children that I like to meet with on at least bi-weekly. These meetings usually take place on Tuesday nights. I also have a small business with my wife. I help my wife at night with the business at least one to three times a week. Although these are things that I would like to be considered, I also understand that the program is going to take time and dedication. I am aware that some of my activities may need to change or be canceled to accommodate my program. I have the support of my co-workers, supervisors, superintendents and my wife going into this program. Communication is very important in a mentor / mentee relationship. I know that the Mentor will need to wear many different hats throughout the process. They will need to be an encourager, an accountability partner, a teacher and coach.
How would you ensure consistent and productive communication happens with your mentor? I would establish regular communication with my mentor via face to face or phone. Depending on their availability and location, we could setup in-person meetings or we could utilize online communication tools like Skype or FaceTime video conferencing. I would also envision using a project management tool like Trello to keep track of specific goals and tasks along our journey. It would also be important to me to set up goals both long and short term. I also know that at times I will need to ask for critical feedback and will need to be an active listener when receiving feedback. Feedback, although difficult to hear at times, is critical to my personal and professional growth and development. I will be open to hear new ideas and suggestions to bring out my best and overcome any challenges that I might encounter. I will try to get feedback on specific issues, for example, how I come across to others. I will ask for specific details to ensure I understand specific behaviors. I will also always be respectful and considerate of my mentor’s time, I know my mentor is also sacrificing his or her time and resources in this journey as well. I will need to prepare the goals and objectives I have and be prepared to ask for specific guidance and advice on my goals, plans and strategic ideas. The more specific I can be, the easier it will be for my mentor to help. It is my hope that this communication would also continue after this process.