Executive Director, TICAL
Santa Cruz County Office of Education
When asked, “What’s one of your greatest technology accomplishments?” Rowland’s reply was, “seeing the TICAL project evolve from an idea to a reality!” He smiles and tells his interviewers that TICAL is a highlight in his career, especially when he’s able to work with so many different administrators who run the gamut from highly technical “super users” to those who are just beginning.
Rowland Baker began his teaching career in 1973 as an elementary teacher. He established his elementary school’s first computer lab in 1982. It was the region’s first, in fact. In 1988, Rowland became an elementary school principal. In 1993, he joined the Santa Cruz County Office of Education which serves approximately 50,000 students and 4,000 teachers. Since then, he has directed five statewide technology projects for the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. TICAL is one of those five projects, and it has run the longest—1999 to the present. In July 2005, Rowland was appointed Assistant Superintendent with responsibility for the Educational Services Division.
Helping to build a regional network that connected higher education, local schools, and the marine research institutes in the area was one of Rowland’s major technological accomplishments. This network was one of California’s first to be developed to make connections between these three entities. Other significant accomplishments include making technology presentations both nationally and internationally for organizations such as ASCD and NECC.
When it comes to Rowland personally, he is reluctant to share much about himself. He did finally tell us that he and his wife recently made their first trip to Europe. His daughter is living there during the 2004-2005 school year, so Rowland and his wife truly got the grand tour when they visited her during the summer. Other personal tidbits about Rowland include his love for surfing and for restoring and driving old cars. Ask him about his favorite cars—the “woody.” Serving as one member of the pit crew for the group that won the land speed record at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah was also a high point in Rowland’s personal life.
It’s obvious that Rowland is dedicated to his work with administrators, technology, and TICAL. The human element is a critical detail that Rowland does not want to see lost in the quest for technology. He cautions, “We need to be really careful that we don’t lose human interaction. Just because something is possible technologically, I always ask myself, ‘should we?’”