As many of you know this past year marked a distinct change in my personal career path. After working for my entire educational career with county offices of education I took a job with a unified school district. From 1983 to 2001 I had the opportunity to work in three different county offices of education. I started my journey in the early 80’s as a Programmer, then a Programmer/Analyst, followed by work as a Senior Programmer/Analyst. Then in the early 90’s I changed hats and began managing a department of talented IT professionals. All the time this work was done at county offices where we focused our support on the school districts that we served. With my arrival at Capistrano Unified in June of 2001 I found myself still working in the educational arena but with a completely different focus on providing support directly to the classrooms. This was something that I really wanted to do and I was very much looking forward to the change and the opportunities that would come from this move. The big question in my mind was how would I get “up-to-speed” quickly on day-to-day issues that an IT director in a large and rapidly growing school district would face.
Fortunately for me I was a member of CEDPA. Never underestimate the strength and importance of knowledgeable friends and associates who are more than willing to share information. Through phone calls, e-mails, listserves, and of course the annual CEDPA conference I quickly began learning about issues that my role in the different counties had not fully prepared me for. I am truly grateful for all of the knowledge that my associates statewide provided to me during this time and that they continue to do so to this very day. How very difficult it must be for someone coming into our business from the private sector without having the support of people like you. We are so fortunate to work in an industry where sharing of information and expertise comes so freely and without obligation. Together we strengthen each other and in-turn this makes our ability to provide quality support to our employers so much more valuable.
“Strengthening Education” is the official theme of the 42nd annual CEDPA conference that will take place on October 16-18, 2002. The location for this event will be the Riviera Resort and Racquet Club in Palm Springs. I’ll be attending along with several hundred other CEDPA members as we share information through keynote speakers, breakout sessions, hands-on labs and cups of coffee.
I hope you’ll join me in Palm Springs this year. Some might say that given the current state budget situation that you can’t afford to attend. I’d say that you couldn’t afford not to attend. If you stay home you’re going to miss out on a great opportunity to learn about issues that will make your decision making process that much more accurate in selecting the right choice.
After a year here in Capistrano I know that I made the right choice. Of course the beaches, palm trees, and cool breezes haven’t hurt either!
Best Regards and see you in Palm Springs!