The role of the CTO in school districts is evolving into one of the most important leadership positions in education, yet many who currently fill that job lack the skills and background to make the
Pete Just, CETL, seems to be everywhere. The CTO of Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township (Indiana), he is also a leader of the Indiana CTO Council, a member of the Indiana Department of Education’s eLearning Cadre, and an active CoSN member who was just elected to the Board of Directors. One of the first leaders nationwide to earn our CETL credential, he’s an ideal representative of and tireless advocate for the program.
Fostering Long-Term Student Success
Pete has made it his priority to find the ideal digital tools for his district, and his work to introduce technology and personalized learning has fostered student success in a district with significant financial challenges. MSD Wayne’s Achieve Virtual Education Academy highlights the wealth of flexible options Pete has introduced; in conjunction with virtual options like online credit recovery and extended-day programs, it has helped consistently boost graduation rates by allowing students to choose a path that works for them. The graduation rate at one MSD of Wayne Township high school grew from just 65% in 2007 to an impressive 88% last year; another boasted a 100% rate for the first time. The impact is felt within individual classrooms as well: with Pete’s leadership, MSD Wayne is moving from formal textbooks to district-created online curricula.
Helping Students Take Charge
Pete’s innovations are also improving students’ success long before graduation. He’s careful to choose technologies that will inspire students; since students always want to be connected to their devices, enter BYOD! The students at MSD of Wayne Township have become experts in the best ways to use their devices. Starting in second grade, all students engage in courses about digital citizenship and literacy; they’ll graduate knowing how to use their devices from a social as well as a technical perspective. In fact, Pete has made sure his students are experts in BYOD programs with the creation of student technology teams to assist at MSD Wayne. It’s a unique opportunity for these students, who can truly shape their own learning experiences while helping their peers and teachers – and may even be gaining the skills they need to be future CTOs!
District level change is crucial, but it’s far from the end of the story; Pete has been a state-level champion as well. A founding member and past chair of the Indiana CTO Council, he helped turn a fledgling professional group into a force that is crucial to the professional development of hundreds of leaders statewide. The CTO Council's emphasis on CETL preparation and study groups has produced 19 CETLs – Pete among them! Pete’s CTO2B mentorship program ensures that newer CTOs will also receive stellar professional development. The innovative program, conducted in partnership with the Indiana Department of Education, matches aspiring CETLs with mentors who can provide advice and help guide their studying and their general professional development. This support network has made the Indiana CTO Council a powerful force in the state.
With his work to transform the fabric of his school system and advocate for ed tech state- and nationwide, Pete is a leader in the ed tech community. Thanks for your work on behalf of students everywhere, Pete!