President’s Message: Albert Gonzalez
Authentic preparation for the age of artificial intelligence
CSBA’s AI Taskforce will explore the use of the new technology in public schools

As I sat down to write this column, my first as CSBA President, I couldn’t help but consider my upbringing and the path that led me to this point. I never could have imagined myself in this position when I decided to run for school board 17 years ago, let alone as a young boy growing up in the East Bay. My parents immigrated from Mexico to Los Angeles before settling in Concord, 20 minutes from Oakland and 50 minutes from the heart of Silicon Valley. At that time, few could have predicted the heights California’s tech industry would reach and the impact it would have on the Bay Area, California, the United States and the world.

Now, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear how technology is integrated in, and integral to, almost every aspect of modern life. So, when a transformational technology arrives on the scene, there’s no excuse for not taking it seriously. As education leaders, we have a responsibility to do everything in our power to prepare our schools and our students for the changes so that each student thrives in our global society.

My family emphasized the importance of education and provided a strong foundation that led me to receive an electrical engineering degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. After graduation, I went to San Jose, because that’s where all the high-tech jobs were, a reality that is more pronounced today. Yet, many California students were not well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunities the industry offered. The tech boom was largely something that happened to them, not something that worked for them. We can’t allow that to happen again.

President's Albert Gonzalez's headshot, wearing a dark blue suit jacket and a button up shirt and tie
“It’s an exciting time for public schools and I’m confident our accomplished, representative and committed group of AI Taskforce members will successfully position CSBA members for this challenge.”
Albert Gonzalez, CSBA President

CSBA’s AI Taskforce: Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

The explosive growth of artificial intelligence (AI) presents a second chance to prepare students for careers in technology. It also gives us the chance to re-evaluate how technology influences governance, policy, operations, instruction and communication in public schools and adjust our practices to set the stage for a better future. For all these reasons, CSBA created its AI Taskforce: Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Chaired by Immediate Past President Susan Markarian, the taskforce met for the first time during the Annual Education Conference and Trade Show in December and will continue its work this year. Through the creation of this taskforce, CSBA aims to prepare board members for discussions and decisions that reach every boardroom, if they haven’t already.

The AI Taskforce is a multidisciplinary team of technology experts, board of education members, educators, school administrators, researchers, academics and other school and community partners working to ensure boards have the tools and information for this transformative period in education. This diverse group of technology experts and educators is collaborating to provide guidance, promising practices, policies and legislative recommendations that address the challenges and opportunities posed by AI in our schools and society.

The taskforce will consider a multitude of issues related to AI and schools, including, but not limited to, how to positively integrate AI technology into the instructional setting; assessing the ethical, legal and privacy implications of AI usage in schools; identifying appropriate policies for the use of AI; as well as examining the potential risks of using it in schools. By harnessing the potential of AI technology in education, we aim to enhance learning outcomes and prepare our students for the demands of the future workforce, all while addressing ethical concerns and guarding against the potential for abuse of AI in public schools.

The AI Taskforce will ensure boards across the state are prepared to make informed governance decisions on behalf of students entering a radically different era of teaching and learning. It’s an exciting time for public schools and I’m confident our accomplished, representative and committed group of AI Taskforce members will successfully position CSBA members for this challenge. We look forward to engaging with you as we enter a new age of artificial intelligence.

AI Taskforce
Susan Markarian, Pacific Union ESD Trustee and CSBA Immediate Past President
Stephanie Avera, Capistrano USD Chief Technology Officer
Heidi Bayne, Riverside COE Coordinator of Education Tech
Robert Bauer, Portola Valley School District Trustee
Jennifer Burks, Poway USD Associate Superintendent of Technology
Chris Chiang, Mountain View Whisman SD Trustee
Jennifer Crabtree, West Covina USD Coordinator of Education Technology
Shelley Deniz, Madera COE Trustee
Matt Gehrett, Dinuba USD Educational Technology Director
Albert Gonzalez, Santa Clara USD Trustee and CSBA President
Edward Hilton, Tahoe Truckee USD Director of Technology Services
Soheil Katal, Los Angeles USD Chief Information Officer
Jeremy Koellish, San Luis Costal USD Director of IT
Dr. Bettye Lusk, Monterey Peninsula USD Trustee and CSBA Vice President
Kimberly McGrath, Reed USD Superintendent
David Miyashiro, Cajon Valley Union SD Superintendent
Chris Norwood, Milpitas USD Board President
Morgan Nugent, Lassen Union HSD Superintendent
Arlene Perez, El Rancho USD Trustee
Jason Price, Western Placer USD Board Vice President
Sabrena Rodriguez, Ventura USD Trustee and Region 11 Director
Daniel Sandoval, Santa Paula USD Trustee
Larry Simon, San Leandro USD Assistant Superintendent
Nancy Smith, Palmdale SD Trustee and Region 22 Director
Roger Snyder, Scotts Valley USD Trustee and Region 9 Director
Nicolas Wade, Columbia USD Superintendent
Justin Walker, Willits USD Director of Technology
Terry Walker, Irvine USD Superintendent