CTO Mentor Program FAQs

Why should I apply for the CTO Mentor Program?
The CTO Mentor Program will deliver a first class professional development curriculum that will enhance the knowledge of existing Chief Technology Officers and allow prospective Chief Technology Officers to become the technology leaders in their K-12 institutions. Instructors are qualified and experienced CTOs with a preferred minimum of 10 years experience in the education community. Participants will improve their understanding of fundamental issues that drive school technology policies in each major functional area, including: student systems and accountability, district technology, user support, budgeting and finance, contracts and procurement, risk management, and the importance of having strong effective leadership skills.

Whom should I ask to nominate me?
The nomination is an important part of the application and demonstrates organizational support. This support is critical as you will be required to interview cabinet members and complete assignments involving different departments. In addition, it is invaluable for your organization to understand the time commitment you are making to the program. We highly recommend securing a nomination from your Superintendent. In some large organizations this may not be possible; you may have a nomination submitted from an Assistant Superintendent or equivalent. Nominations from your director or the equivalent can also help provide additional context to your application but are not necessary (unless they are in the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent role). Nominations from colleagues will not be reviewed.

What is the cost once I am accepted to the program?
Tuition costs for the CTO Mentor Project are $2,800 in 2023. Participants are responsible to pay for their own travel and lodging to classes. Lunch is provided on Saturday.

What payment methods are accepted for the tuition?
Tuition can be paid by check (purchase orders accepted), money order, Visa, MasterCard or Discover.

Can I ask my employer to sponsor me?
Absolutely! This program will benefit your employer by providing a first class professional development program. Some possible sources of funding include grants, other professional development funding or the general fund.

How many classes are there?
The program consists of eight (8) classes held on Friday evenings and Saturday, all day. The initial kickoff session lasts the full day on Friday.

 When and where do the classes take place?
Classes begin at 4:00 pm on Friday evening and end at 8:00 pm. Saturday class is from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm. We may choose to convert one of more of these classes to a virtual format. Attendance is mandatory for the eight weekend sessions, and failure to attend may resunt in being dropped from the program.

You must also complete a live final presentation the day before the start of the CITE Annual Conference (2023: Sacramento).

For 2023, class will take place in Sacramento on the following days:

  • February 3 - 4 (two full days 8:00 am - 4:00 pm for program kickoff)
  • March 3 - 4
  • March 31 - April 1 (Note: due to the Cesar Chavez holiday, these dates may change)
  • May 5 - 6
  • June 2 - 3
  • July 8 - 9
  • September 8 - 9
  • October 6 - 7

Do I have to renew the certificate once I have completed the project?
Yes. All successful candidates will be expected to renew their certificates annually, and will be required to submit annual documentation toward recertification.

What are the qualifications?

A successful candidate for the CTO Mentor Project should currently have or show potential in the following areas:

  • IT Customer Service: networking, servers, desktops, user support
  • Logical Thinking Skills, including involvement with or management of large projects
  • Analytical Abilities, including experience developing or assisting with the development of a technology budget or experience with school finance or purchasing
  • Facilitation Skills: engaging, informing, involving, planning
  • Leadership Skills
  • People Skills, ability to communicate well with others orally and in writing

In addition, the candidate should have a career objective to become a fully qualified CTO.

Can I pick my own mentor?
You can team with a mentor and submit your applications together. However, final teams are determined by the CTO Steering Committee.

What are the mentor qualifications?
A successful mentor candidate for the CTO Mentor Project should have the following qualifications:

  • Prefer at least 10 years experience as a leader in K-12 Technology
  • Currently holds a position as a leader in K-12 Technology
  • Hands-on experience with K-12 Technology
  • Holds a degree in business related field, CTO certification or demonstrated work experience
  • Commitment of time as needed to consult and review assignments with participants
  • Able to provide work study supervision to candidate in accordance with curriculum guidelines

What if I miss a class?
We encourage you to attend every session to fully benefit from the program. Unavoidable absences will be discussed with the CITE Board and CTO Mentor Program Steering Committee and every attempt to develop and alternative for make up will be made. Absence from a session without explanation may result in being dropped from the program.

What if I miss one or more assignments?
Candidates must complete all prerequisites, homework assignments and any in-class assignments to be qualified for completion and certification.

Will my position and job title automatically change when I complete the project?
Not necessarily. The certification represents that you have completed the project and that the CTO Steering Committee, your instructors and your mentor agree that you have the skills to become a CTO. Skills do not replace experience and in most cases experience is critical to the CTO position.

What if I change jobs during the program?
If you leave your current position during the program, the Steering Committee will determine whether or not it is feasible for you to continue. In most cases, moving from one district or COE to another should not be a problem. However, if you leave the K12 environment, you may be released from the program. Many of the assignments revolve around working with others in a school district or COE and not being exposed to that environment could make it difficult to successfully complete the program.

When can I apply?
The application process starts in late summer of each year. Applications are submitted online. Classes begin in late January/early February of the following year and the program cohort officially ends in November of that same year.