CITE Certified Chief Technology Officer Mentor Program

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Program Overview

The CITE Certified CTO Mentor Program produces qualified California school district CTOs. 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. For more information on how to apply to the program, visit our Applicant Page.

The program is managed and sponsored by CITE and supported by the California Department of Education (CDE), the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), and California County Superintendents . The program is governed by a steering committee made up of technology leaders throughout California representing CITE, CDE, FCMAT, California County Superintendents, as well as instructors and graduates. This collaboration ensures a rigorous and relevant curriculum is consistently delivered.

Program Fast Facts

  • The program runs from February - November each year
  • Between 15-20 candidates are selected each year for the program
  • The program moves from SoCal to NorCal each year; in 2024, it was in SoCal and in 2025 it will be in NorCal.
  • Candidates attend classes that focus on strengthening leadership skills, learning the K-12 education environment, and growing their IT management toolkit
  • Candidates complete pre-work before each class weekend and rigorous assignments and reflections after each class.
  • Each candidate is assigned a mentor who provides support, feedback, and guidance throughout the program
  • Classes are taught by program alumni and subject matter experts
  • The final assignment for candidates is a 20-minute oral presentation
  • Successful candidates will be added to a community of program alumni who network, collaborate, and grow the field. Each year, CITE hosts a special luncheon for certified alumni at the annual conference. 


The CITE Certified Chief Technology Officer Mentor Program follows three learning strands: Technology, Education, and Leadership. The information covered in each strand is essential to participants with the ambition and potential to be technology leaders in executive positions for California's public schools as well as those who want to better support the leadership with a full understanding of the organization as a whole.

The Technology strand will cover four principles:

  • Security Fundamentals – including information security, information security assessment, business continuity, risk assessment and budgeting for security.
  • Infrastructure – including data delivery and distribution and systems.
  • Technology Services – including hardware and software currency, planning for internal services and desktop support.
  • IT Knowledge – including standards development and technical concepts.


The Education strand will cover five principles:

  • Student Centered Aspects – including privacy and confidentiality, student data, integrating with other departments, local, community, state, federal requirements.
  • Staff Centered Aspects – including supporting Human Resources, classified/certificated aspects, the union environment, STRS/PERS and credentials.
  • Educational Technology - the tools and resources available to teachers as well as strategies for better learning.
  • Assessment and Accountability – including state assessments, defining accountability and local systems.
  • Finance Centered Aspects – including sources of funding, mandated items and categorical funds, purchasing, bidding and vendor relations, facilities funding, attendance and planning.


The Leadership strand discusses seven principles:

  • Professional Development and Training – including aligning training to state and district standards, developing a scope and sequence for training, research and development for training models, personal professional development.
  • Vision and Technology Planning – including developing a vision for technology, assessing technology needs, involving stakeholders, developing a technology plan and assisting sites with technology plans, investigating future technology trends, designing sustainability models.
  • Communications and Public Relations – including advising on the use of technology, developing vendor projects, collaborating on joint projects, communications with the public and with the school board, site visits, customer service and initiating partnerships.
  • Personnel Management – including recruitment, interviewing and selection, orientation, team building, staff communications, performance and evaluation, motivation, managing conflict.
  • Organizational Management – including mission and goals, departmental organization, systems and solutions, managing change.
  • Fiscal Management - including building a budget, decision tools (TCO/ROI).
  • Project Management – including defining project management, using project management tools and projects and strategic planning.