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CTO Mentor Program Application

The 2020 application is an online form. it is recommended that you use the Questions List to plan your essay responses in advance before submitting your form.


Link to 2020 Application Question List for Planning Written Responses



The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Mentor training program is targeted to produce qualified California CTOs for K12 educational organizations.  The program's mission is to provide:

A rigorous and innovative program that develops leaders who collaborate, strategize, and improve organizational systems to enhance teaching and learning. 

This program provides classroom training which takes place in eight sessions (Friday night, Saturday all day).  Candidates are expected to attend ALL sessions.  Instructors are qualified and experienced CTOs. 

This program is unique because of the following four major components:

1) Participants are nominated and screened by a Steering Committee,
2) Each participant is teamed with his/her own mentor who currently fulfills a CTO role, 
3) Courses involve “hands-on” experience and job-related activities that participants use to develop an online professional portfolio, and
4) Training is offered at a substantially lower cost than other professional development courses.

The CTO Mentor Program is sponsored and managed by the California Educational Technology Professionals Association (CETPA) in joint collaboration with the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) and the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) and is supported by the California Department of Education (CDE).  It is our intent, through interagency collaboration to assist local education agencies in filling CTO vacancies throughout California with qualified CTOs.  It is also our intent to establish a model professional development program that prepares technology leaders to successfully address challenges facing California's education system.

Participants will improve their knowledge and abilities related to leadership, education and technology as they engage with following topics: vision, leadership, strategic planning, professional development, project management, organizational management, fiscal management and budgeting, technology infrastructure, student and staff data systems, security, personnel management, assessment, accountability, education technology, and technology policies and standards. The curriculum is reviewed each year by the CTO Mentor Steering Committee and updated as necessary to ensure it is reflective of the current functions and responsibilities required of a CTO in an educational agency. 

We are pleased to present this professional development activity focused on technology, leadership and education.  We invite and encourage individuals to apply for these limited CTO Mentor Program placements.

August 2019

Lorrie Owens, President, California Educational Technology Professionals Association (CETPA)

Mike Fine, Chief Executive Officer, Fiscal Crisis Management & Assistance Team (FCMAT)



Link to 2020 Application Question List for Planning Written Responses



Timelines and Class Schedule

2020 Application Timeline

  • August 8, 2019 through September 15, 2019
  • Application, resume, and nomination form are due September 15, 2019 by 11:59 p.m.
  • Electronic submission through the linked form is required. Other submissions will not be accepted.

2020 Class Schedule

Accepted Candidates are expected to attend ALL classes. Please review the schedule carefully and confirm your availability.  All classes will be held in the San Jose or Santa Clara area of Northern California. Candidates are responsible for their own travel arrangements and must plan their travel to ensure they are able to attend the full class (leaving early to catch a flight is not acceptable). 

  • January 31: Kickoff (9:00 am-5:00 pm) and reception (optional but encouraged, 5:30-8:00 pm), Location: TBD Santa Clara or San Jose
  • February 1: Leadership & Organizational Planning (8:00 am-4:00 pm)

All courses after the Kickoff weekend are held in Santa Clara or San Jose

  • February 28: Professional Learning (5:30-9:30 pm)
  • February 29: Educational Technology (8:00 am-4:00 pm)
  • March 27: Assessment (5:30-9:30 pm)
  • March 28: Fiscal Management (8:00 am-4:00 pm)
  • May 1: Accountability (5:30-9:30 pm)
  •  May 2: Organizational Leadership & Management (8:00 am-4:00 pm)
  • May TBD: one-hour phone call portfolio review (with mentor)
  • June 5: Data Governance (5:30-9:30 pm)
  • June 6: Cybersecurity (8:00 am-4:00 pm)
  • July 10: Technology Infrastructure (5:30-9:30 pm)
  • July 11: Personnel Leadership (8:00 am-4:00 pm)
  • September 11: Project & Team Management, Part I (5:30-9:30 pm)
  • September 12: Project & Team Management, Part II (8:00 am-4:00 pm)
  • September TBD: one-hour phone call portfolio review (with mentor)
  • October 2: Technology Policies (5:30-9:30 pm)
  •  October 3: Strategic Leadership (8:00 am-4:00 pm)

All activities after classes are complete will be held at the CETPA Annual Conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center & Santa Clara Hyatt

  • December 1: Oral Presentation Finals (1:00-4:00 pm)
    • This is a required activity for certification.
    • You are not required but are strongly encouraged to attend the CETPA conference.
  • December 2: Certificate Presentation (1:00-1:30 pm)
    • This is not a required activity for certification but we encourage you to join your cohort onstage. Up to two guests may be invited to join the audience. 
  • December 2: CTOM Program Reception (5:30-7:00 pm), Hyatt Santa Clara
    • This is not a required activity for certification but we encourage you to join the entire CTO Mentor community to celebrate your success.

 Qualifications and Responsibilities

Attend all classes
✓ Communicate consistently with my mentor
Complete all prerequisite assignments prior to each session
Attend all classes and actively and constructively participate in class activities and discussions
Complete all assignments on time and receive a passing grade from the instructor
Complete class oral presentation as assigned
Build a professional portfolio with artifacts and reflections throughout the program
✓     Participate in additional check in meetings with the program manager to assess progress
Complete the final oral presentation as assigned
Provide constructive feedback to the program 


Qualifications and Factors That Determine Eligibility

This section describes the qualifications for applicants; these qualifications are the factors that will be used when evaluating applications. A successful candidate for the CTO Mentor Program should currently be involved in some facet of technology and employed by a public or private school, district, county, or state organization. 

Nomination: Ideally, the application would include a nomination from the candidate’s superintendent or other individual from the candidate’s organization that demonstrates organizational support for the candidate’s participation in the program. A nomination from a superintendent demonstrates the highest support for the time commitment of the program, but in some organizations this is not always feasible. Alternate nominations should consider whether their nomination demonstrates organizational support and commitment to the applicant's professional development plan.

The successful candidate will have experience in a professional setting (a minimum of four (4) years is preferred), a demonstrated expertise in technology (such as programming, system installation and management, e-rate or network management) and have or show potential in the following areas: 

   ✓ Written communications, including being able to submit by the deadline a well written, complete application along with a resume and nomination form 
    ✓ Oral communications, including presentations at professional development events and/or school board meetings, etc. 
    ✓ Leadership, including experience as a department leader or project manager, or in another leadership role
    ✓ Human resource management, including experience supervising and evaluating staff 
    ✓ IT Customer Service: networking, servers, desktops, user support 
    ✓ Analytical abilities/logical thinking skills, including involvement with or management of large projects 
    ✓ Fiscal management, including experience developing or assisting with the development of a technology budget experience with school finance or purchasing, categorical fund acquisition and/or contract procedures 
    ✓ Facilitation skills and people skills, including experience working with groups to engage them in activities such a planning, monitoring or problem-solving 
    ✓ Involvement in the K12 community (CETPA, CUE, CASBO, ACSA, CoSN, ISTE, etc.) In addition, the candidate should have a career objective to become a fully qualified CTO in K12. 
    ✓ Continued employment in K-12 throughout the program is required.