Pete Just’s CETL Story
Pete Just is the Chief Technology Officer at Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township. Pete has the privilege of being one of the first technology leaders in this country to earn CoSN’s CETL certification. He was part of a beta group that took the exam last December.
For Pete, the decision to take the exam was simple. “I came from another career field, actually a couple of different fields, and in those fields there was a definitive way you could help your future employer understand your specific skill set, and that was by taking a certification exam. When I moved from the classroom to being a tech director, I thought that there must be something in this field that’s an arbitrator of knowledge, something to certify that you know what you are talking about. I did some research 15 to 17 years ago, and I couldn’t find anything like that. Nothing that showed you were a leader of technology change. One of the early efforts of the Indiana chapter of CoSN was to create a way to allow CTO’s to professionalize their resume with a certificate program. When CoSN national received a NSF grant to build the CETL opportunity, we abandoned the plan and re-focused on the CETL. Some word of mouth resulted in an initial group of applicants that were willing to be a part of the national beta test that was held last December.”
Recognizing the value of the certification, Pete and the other applicants committed themselves to preparing for the exam. “I did some research to find out who else was taking the exam, and we created a study group cadre. We did outline study sessions, we used Google Docs to share and edit documents, and we reviewed materials that CoSN provided on their certification website.” The study group was made up of individuals from around Indiana, so the group couldn’t physically get together to study. However, they used other means (via technology of course!) to collaborate and prepare. Pete estimates that he spent approximately 20 to 30 additional hours preparing for the test outside of the group sessions, and that he really focused on CoSN’s Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO.
Having taken and successfully passed the exam, Pete would recommend taking the exam to other technology leaders. “I think as this continues to move forward this will become a standard across the country for those who are seeking employment in the field and seeking professional roles within organizations. It’s a great baseline to assess if a person has the basic skill set to perform the role. This is a new standard of knowledge that can be transferred nationally. Most people in our field have never considered the transition out of our home states or regions, and this certification will give us the opportunity to do so if we want to.”
Pete strongly encourages future test-takers to form study groups and prepare together. “Those of us that passed have a real sense of camaraderie and accomplishment. Having worked together in the way that we did was a neat experience that we’ll share for a long time.”