Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Exciting Project Starting Soon

Glad to be moving forward with signage, hopefully indoors and outside, to identify our building's "green" features for students and our visitors from the community, We will be working with project architects from Garmann-Miller, Minster in the coming months. All should be done by June 1, 2015.

The samples I've seen are exactly what I was looking for and will dress up some of the bare walls in hallways and the commons area, while providing timeless information about our conservation efforts Solar information will be included also to help get the word out about how much power the field generates and how it works.

Our building, completed in January, 2013, recently earned Gold LEED rating in the co-funded Ohio School Facilities Commission project. The 18 months (and then some) from groundbreaking to the dedication were intense, exhausting, and yet so fulfilling. Every day I see students and staff, as well as our many community guests, utilizing the new Vantage training facility. It feels especially good because I was able to work in the former building, which lacked so many attributes for student learning. The transformation is still amazing to many of us spend our days and nights here.

We are incredibly pleased that we earned a Gold rating, and will soon place a LEED plaque, which declares our rating near the bronze building dedication plaque near the high school office. Stay tuned for some previews of  green signage!

Today Matters! @VantageSupt #gettheedge @vccstudents #Iamcareertech

Friday, September 5, 2014


Look out world, I've joined Twitter! Follow me @VantageSupt

Thanks to Vantage Integrated Technology Specialist Mary Ann Falk, who spent time teaching me "all things Twitter" this afternoon. (No, it wasn't in 30 minutes or less!) But it was time well spent, and I am excited about sharing news about CTE and Vantage to followers.

It's the end of a busy week, but a productive one. I can literally see a lot more of my desk than I could on Monday, so I must have pushed a lot of paper. While we are moving toward "paperless", a lot of reading, via trade magazines and printed CTE-related articles, which I receive via email, tend to be simpler to print and read later.

A highlight of our Board of Education meeting last night was hearing from two of our 2014 construction trades seniors, Ben Schnipke, Ottoville, and Austen Stukey, Parkway. They were national Skills USA winners in Kansas City this past June, Austen taking 5th in carpentry, and Ben winning second place in cabinetry. Vantage Instructor Jerry Robinson joined them at our Board meeting and spoke of the importance of the state and national competitions for students. Vantage is proud of our students for these awesome national accomplishments!

Here's a great link to a video we showed all staff the day before school started in August. Its message reminds those of us working in CTE that our service is much needed and can benefit so many people and employers. Check it out:

Today Matters at Vantage Career Center.

Pictured is 2014 senior Ben Schnipke with his cabinet built during national Skills USA competition in Kansas City. Looking on (l-r): Supt. Staci Kaufman, High School Director Ben Winans, Board member Pat Baumle, Wayne Trace Local Schools.

Friday, August 22, 2014

And Here We Go. . .

Four days of school just ended as the last bell of the day sounded a few minutes ago. Evidence so far points to a good year ahead--a building full of students, staff reporting to work and full of new ideas, and equipment maintained (and the AC works too!).

Adult Director Pete Prichard and I represented Vantage at the monthly economic development advisory group meeting. Dave Krendl, Cool Machines, Inc. gave the program today, followed by a tour of his business, which designs and assembles various "cool machines" which are shipped all over the nation and to other countries. No fabrication is currently done onsite, just design and assembly. Among his employees are at least two former Vantage students, one who travels frequently to troubleshoot equipment sold, and who was recently in Hawaii, to troubleshoot for a client of Cool Machines. What an awesome opportunity for our graduates.

 Mr. Krendl's business has many facets, but one which brings some notoriety to Van Wert, Ohio is the equipment they design and assemble for Snow Business, based in the UK. Snow Business supplies "snow" (paper shavings) for all the James Bond movies, Band of Brothers, and many other movie and special events requiring snow effects. Cool Machines' equipment was also used to create the massive dust storm in a recent Tom Cruise movie for a desert scene. The desert sandstorm was really fibrous shavings, or cardboard particles, being blown onto the movie set.

Cool Machines, Inc. is located in the former business incubator site, at 740 Fox Road. Mr. Krendl sums up his business by stating, "We help other businesses by designing the processes they need to accomplish their goals". If a client knows what their end goal is, Cool Machines can make it happen--asphalt application and earth bricks are also emerging processes. Cool Machines is something to see, right here in Van Wert!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Things are shaping up and loose ends are coming together as we prepare for the next school year. Have been thinking how grateful I am for the talented staff I work with at Vantage. Tough issues are solved, new ideas are encouraged and often come to fruition, and there is always evidence of staff members "going the extra mile" for the sake of Vantage. It is a good feeling to be surrounded by an incredible staff on a daily basis!

Administrative work, such as finding a new CTE teacher, is always fulfilling, but can be a stressor. While increasingly difficult to fill several of these positions as the years go by, it continues to inspire me when our administrative team is able to persuade (yes, persuade) Route B or alternative teacher licensure pathway candidates, to try teaching their trade to high school students. The search is sometimes long and takes many curves, but there is no better feeling than seeing a new CTE teacher grow and develop his/her teaching skills. It is not an easy adjustment for these skilled workers to enter the teaching profession.

The best satisfaction is in knowing that young people have been prepared to enter the workforce and earn a living for themselves.

As always, Today Matters.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Finally! A Blog Update!

Summer at Vantage is filled with tasks to get ready for the new school year. We are currently trying to fill our Agriculture instructor position at Paulding High School, where we operate the satellite ag program. OSU's class of ag graduates is slim this year, and may be a sign of the times. The food science industry is booming and may be drawing some ag graduate to enter industry vs. teaching. Family and Consumer Science instructors have been on the decline as well, with only a few of our universities turning out FCS graduates with teaching licensure. Hopefully the small graduating class adding to the shortage of ag candidates is an aberration this year for OSU.

My last blog or two included a bit about a new diet and exercise plan to control my cholesterol levels--I am pleased to announce that 7 months of discipline and hard work resulted in cutting my "bad" cholesterol by half, and reduced the total number by over 60 pts. The best thing though, is healthier habits have been formed! (However, I wouldn't turn down a cookie right now.)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Squish. . .Squish. . .

So glad I am no longer hearing "squish. . .squish" as I walk into my office. We've been back in school after the big snowstorm and arctic temperatures, but not on time any day this week. I was greeted by a flooded office on Wednesday morning when I arrived, due to a frozen sprinkler system in this area of the building. The water flow wasn't full force, as it was frozen, so the alarm didn't go off to warn maintenance, as it is set on a flow meter. The early childhood lab's storage closet was still in inch deep or more water when I arrived there, and spreading out into the lab. After unloading the closet to dry things out, my boots and jeans were soaked, so I am glad I live close by to run home and change clothes. Luckily the flooding was confined to our office area, and ECE. The water at one point was baseboard high in my office and the hallway out to the reception area. THANK YOU, maintenance and SERVICE MASTER for acting quickly to begin the clean up. WHAT  A DAY!

So while the good news is the water damage is only in two areas, the bad news is the walls in my office had to be cut a foot up, to pull out the soaked insulation. Repair work will start when a contractor can get here, estimates coming this morning. I am camping out in the District Conference Room for now, as use of my office is impossible. We are not enjoying the lull of the fans blowing to dry the floor out in most of our work areas, but we are tolerating the disarray of moved furniture in the hallway and fans everywhere. Maybe next week will be a normal week--whatever that is! For now, Today Matters, and I will have to get as much done as I can in the temporary set up.

Friday, January 3, 2014


What a quiet building it is when all the students and staff are home on the holiday break. Given the weather predictions for this weekend, it is unlikely school will start on time on Monday, if at all.

I have had much difficulty since we changed to "all things Google" with signing into my blog--I have seriously tried to write several times since my last post, but couldn't access it. Thanks to a quiet day and being caught up in most other work, I finally asked for technical assistance! Problem solved--Thank you, Luke Compton!

Luke joined the staff last July when Eric Vennekotter left to accept a promotion with the Pandora-Gilboa school district. Luke has hit the ground running at Vantage. I am glad he had some time to help.

In past weeks we honored our new student inductees to the National Technical Honor Society. Every associate school had at least one staff member present. It was a great evening with students and their parents. Now we are gearing up for the annual Open House/BBQ Dinner on February 10. For many years, this has been a VTO scholarship funraiser, and for the past few years, a Citizens For Vantage levy campaign fundraiser. In 2014 all dinner ticket proceeds will go to assist with student events and activities at Vantage. Staff members are asked to purchase or sell 5 dinner tickets, and many of us are seeking sponsorship donations from area businesses. The challenge is on to see who can get the most sponsors!

Since it's January 3, are you making resolutions for the new year? I have made a few, primarily for achieving better health and connecting more (even if it's electronically) with my sisters. Without boring you with my new health regimen, I will say that I have already tried several new foods and committed for the past 2 weeks to a new exercise regimen which suits both me and my schedule. BTW: Kale and almond milk are not as bad as I thought. The best time is now--Today Matters!