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Jeremy Nishihara

Session 1.1 - Kickoff

Curriculum Summary

The first session of the 2019 Chief Technology Officer Mentor (CTOM) training program, titled
Session 1.1 - Kickoff, was an all-day course held on Friday, January 30, 2019, in Orange
County, CA. The overall goals of the day were to provide an introduction to the CTOM program,
introduce the candidates to their mentors, and to provide an opportunity for the individual
members of the cohort to begin to form a cohesive unit.

The goal of the CTOM training program is to “produce qualified California school district Chief
Technology Officers. The program raises the bar for technology leaders and creates a
community of support through mentorship and collaboration. The program also seeks to inform
Superintendents and District Leaders of the importance of a cabinet level CTO position.” The
program aims to accomplish these goals by 1) implementing a rigorous leadership development
program with a focus on self-reflection, 2) provide individualized mentorship, and 3) connect all
parties together within a supportive network.

The introduction of the program included a welcome message from the executive leadership of
the California Educational Technology Professionals Association (CETPA). These speakers
included Lorrie Owens, CETPA Board President; Andrea Bennett, CETPA Executive Director;
and Laurel Nava, CETPA Director of Education and Events. In addition to the Cohort 13
candidates and mentors, there were a number of CTOM instructors and CETPA Board
Members in attendance. During the introduction, there was an emphasis placed on developing
the individual candidates through a robust support network of mentors, instructors, and program

The next segment of the kickoff session was a presentation of two research dissertations that
studied and evaluated the effectiveness of the CTOM program. These two studies were
conducted by previous CTOM program graduates. The first study conducted by Dr. Stephen
Choi is titled “A Case Study of Promising Practices Mentoring K-12 Chief Technology Officers.”
The second study conducted by Dr. Julie Judd is titled “Examining the effectiveness of the CTO
Mentor Program and its impact on the K-12 technology leader's career.” Both studies strived to
evaluate the effectiveness of the CTOM on both the participating candidate careers, as well as
the impact on the organizations that they serve.

There was a significant portion of time devoted to developing the mentor-candidate relationship
and ensuring both parties were clear on the expectations of the mentoring relationship. All
mentor-candidate pairs developed a Mentor-Candidate agreement that outlined the
communication plan and a shared definition of confidentiality and working relationship. In
addition, the candidates began to discuss the creation of the required Individual Development
Plan which includes identifying three areas for development from the Microsoft Education
Competency Wheel.
Laurel Nava provided all candidates with an in-depth overview of the Canvas Learning
Management Systems (LMS) used to facilitate the course curriculum. This overview included
how to navigate the LMS, how to set scheduling/notifications within the system, and defining the
aspects of the curriculum summary, reflection, and artifact assignments for each module.

The last portion of the day was devoted to allowing the individual members of the cohort to
begin to become familiar with each other. The group developed common operating norms and
discussed a cohort name and motto. Through a collaborative process, the group branded
themselves “Apollo 13,” with the tagline “Challenge Accepted.”