"I can't imagine not doing this," said Shannon Tufts, about her career as a public servant. Tufts, director of the Center for Public Technology at the University of North Carolina, has a passion for public service and education - one reason government officials asked Tufts to spearhead an innovative training program for public-sector IT leaders.

In 2004, Tufts founded the nation's first government CIO certification program, designed to elevate the strategic value of state and local government IT professionals.

The center offers a 10-month Certified Government CIO (CGCIO) program that educates public CIOs and IT directors in their evolving roles as leaders. The course has trained more than 300 IT professionals from all government levels nationwide. Because of the CGCIO's success, the center launched the Certified Educational Chief Technology Officer program to change how school technology directors and their superintendents think about IT investments. Both programs aim to give IT professionals the leadership and communication skills they need to make strategic IT business decisions, said Tufts, not to teach them technology tools.

Tufts, who also has authored various publications on e-government and IT, said she's proud that her programs are making a difference in the lives of public CIOs.

"I'm glad to see that the knowledge we have tried to share throughout the yearlong course is applied, is practical and makes a difference in the lives of the people who I most ultimately respect, which are the IT professionals who work in the public sector," she said.

Karen Stewartson  |  Managing Editor