United States Navy Captain Margaret Klee will take over as CIO of the Los Angeles Unified School District this year. Klee served in the Navy for 22 years, most recently as CIO of the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station in San Diego, and previously as a strategic planner for technical systems in Europe and as a member of the Joint Staff, Command and Control Directorate, the most senior staff of the U.S. military. Prior to her military career, Klee worked as a speech pathologist with students in grades kindergarten through nine.
What do you see as the biggest challenge in your new post?
As in any large organization, [there are] multiple computer software [applications] and a variety of projects. The biggest thing is going to be
integrating all of this into a consistent network.
What are you most looking forward to in your new position?
A pet project that I want to do and that weve already started working on: a technology high school in Los Angeles. Theyve recently set up one in San Diego and have money that came from the Bill Gates Foundation, part of which they have to share in initiating other technology high schools. Were going to receive part of that money, and were looking at a particular high school [in Los Angeles]. I hope by fall well be able to have an initial program.
This is one area where I really want to partner with industry. Its a win-win for everyone. It gives students that are interested in technology an opportunity to learn a very sellable skill, whether they go on to college or go out and work when they leave high school. It also provides industry an opportunity to educate kids and train them where there is a dearth of people out there. Its a win with industry, and Im hoping industry will partner with us to do this. In San Diego, they partnered with various technical companies to help the high school and get it started. I hope to do the same thing in Los Angeles.
How would a Los Angeles technology high school work?
[Students] have to do their regular academic courses as required by the state of California. But then its supplemented. Basically, anything that would be an elective would be in the technology area. They could get their Microsoft certification, for instance, learn basic LAN technology network -- the courses would be oriented to providing them a technology background.
With the high school kids, there is a tremendous amount of interest in technology. If theres interest there, its a much better after-school program for them than a lot of other things they could be doing. Los Angeles Unified has a fairly high poverty rate. Not all the students are in that category, but its a great in-school and after-school activity. Kids can be very passionate about things, and to have them be passionate in a useful, sellable skill is a real plus. It gives a sense of future and opportunity that isnt always present.
What is your vision of success in your new position?
The business of Los Angeles Unified is education. If I can do something that makes a difference in those kids lives, I would consider that a success.