Today Matters, Vantage Superintendent Blog



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Choose Wisely, But CHOOSE!

What's on my mind? Life's choices. No matter your age or occupation, one's life is steered largely by the choices we make, personally and professionally. One of my favorite quotes says "The decisions you  make today will bring you adversity or advantage".  I actually taped this one to the inside of my medicine cabinet when I became a superintendent--thinking it might steer me in the new challenges ahead.

Another inspiring one (as I try to build up my endurance for my first 8K run), is " 'Dead last' is better than 'didn't finish', which trumps 'never started'." This too, can be applied to setting goals and life's choices.

Let's talk about adversity that may come from decisions one makes. One may say "adversity" implies negativity or confrontation. While I've found many people prefer to avoid confrontation or adversity, if discussing one's viewpoints and opening one's mind to other perspectives, by addressing an issue, causes better communication or solves a problem, adversity is a good thing. It's the failure or refusal to entertain different opinions and perspectives that often causes more adversity.

Is it easier to avoid confrontation and discussion which may result in unpopular decisions? Certainly. But is it the right thing to do? Of course not, particularly if you sit in the superintendent's chair. If improvement can occur, whether student or staff or for the institution, then addressing the unpopular issue is the thing to do.

Does it get easier as we tackle the unpopular decisions? No. Each issue will bring its individual nuances, which merits full consideration and different people at the table. Do I improve as I continually address the issues arising in a superintendent's role? I hope so. Today matters--It's full of choices.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Are You Doing What You Love?

Last week Vantage provided the first of four support forums for our non-traditional students (female or male in a profession predominantly represented by the opposite sex). We call the series "Lunch & Learn" and last week's student attendees were all females in various male-dominated professions, such as Auto Body, Precision Machining, Electricity, Construction, Auto Technology, and Welding.

A former Vantage alumnus, Nina Inez, was the speaker. Students listened to her message of perseverance in her current job and also while she was a student here, both being atmospheres she loved, and wouldn't give up for anything. Question and answer time is always provided, and students gradually feel comfortable speaking out and voicing opinions or problems they are experiencing.

Nina steered the students to remember why they are pursuing the trade their current trade, and "who" are you doing it for? If it isn't for yourself, you may want to rethink your path, because YOU have to be happy with who you are and what you choose. She loves her current job at Advanced Auto Parts, where she makes sure their clients get their parts on time.

As an employer I know that when I see passionate interest and perseverance or diligence in setting goals and achieving them in a candidate for employment, it's worth extending a job offer. Skills are also necessary, but given two skilled candidates, I will most likely choose the one who exudes sparks of enthusiasm and energy for the job at hand, on top of a solid skill base.

An employer worth working for will recognize those who have a passion for their trade and give them a chance to prove themselves.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Volunteer of the Year Award

It is a pleasure to live and work in Van Wert, Ohio. The community offers many ways to get involved, and I was recognized by one of the organziations I work with last evening. Van Wert's Economic Development annual banquet took place at Willow Bend Country Club, recognizing 10 years of successful effort to improve our community. Our Vantage Board of Education members from Van Wert county were present, as well as several friends and colleagues. The recognition of my efforts is truly appreciated.
Volunteer of the Year Award and proclamation by Governor John Kasich

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Do You Know CTE?

I've worked in career technical education since 1991--and taught business education skills to students since 1981. Because I identify so closely with the practical benefits of CTE,  I still forget that not everyone knows what CTE does for students and adults.

In short, CTE provides skilled training so people can earn a living.

But people can learn that in college, you may be thinking. Yes, certainly. But why not learn entry-level skills in one of the 16 career training programs which Vantage Career Center offers, while you are still in high school? Then a person can work in the field and pay down their college debt while they are still in college, and gain advanced technical training to move up in their chosen trade after.

Vantage students in training in Ft. Worth, TX at FWT
Vantage Career Center, Van Wert, Ohio 45891
Vantage is located in Van Wert, Ohio, and is one of 49 joint vocational school districts, strategically placed across the state to offer workforce training.

Check out our website

Follow me @VantageSupt  #careerteched #gettheedge

Get the Edge at Vantage!

Best of the Blogs to Feature an Excerpt of my Blog, Today Matters!

Excited to learn via email this morning that an excerpt from one of my blogs has been picked up by a national education magazine, School Administrator, published by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA)! This is the leading professional association for our nation's school administrators. For those of us in career-technical education, we also count on ACTE, the Association for Career Technical Education's national magazine "Techniques" to offer specialized topics in CTE training and leadership.

I look to AASA's School Administrator magazine to keep up on national education issues and find undying support for public education. Check out the Best of the Blogs page to find excerpts from superintendents across the nation in each month's issue. Other favorite "reads" of mine in the magazine are the "My View" articles, which are packed with leadership lessons learned by administrators. The Ethical Educator series always features thought-provoking instances to guide administrators trying to navigate the sometimes turbulent sea of school administration. The Board Savvy Superintendent series consistently provides good advice for walking that line of leading and developing your school district, while working within the realm of support from your board of education.

Will I continue to read AASA's School Administrator? Sure. But perhaps I will be more careful in writing my superintendent's blog!  Follow me @VantageSupt #gettheedge #careerteched #IamCareerTech

Monday, September 29, 2014

A New Week--A New Opportunity

What will your week contain? If I could predict the future, I would choose not to do so. But I plan to start my week full of energy and ready for anything! Having recently moved to a different home, I start this week being mostly unpacked--finally. Lots more boxes to unpack, and loose ends to tie up, but it's feeling like home. A workout at the YMCA at 5:30 a.m. will hopefully become a habit!

This Thursday Vantage will host its October Board of Education meeting. I'll attend the Herb Monroe Community Park Dedication in Paulding on Tuesday. The Paulding Chamber and its county Leadership in Action members for the past two years have spearheaded this downtown beautification project. I can't wait to see it.

Tuesday evening is the annual City of Van Wert Economic Development dinner, where Mark Barbash will be the keynote speaker at Willow Bend Country Club. Last week I attended the Paulding County annual economic development dinner with Vantage Board member Greg Reinhart. Director Jerry Zielke has headed up economic development efforts for the past year, bringing much enthusiasm and activity to the Paulding area.

This week at Vantage will find students busy in training for the workforce--and staff hard at work encouraging the young people who choose our school. The good news stories of students employed in their field and earning a living renews all of our energies to make each day matter. Today matters.

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