Today Matters, Vantage Superintendent Blog



Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Dust Settles. . .

The long haul to hire a new treasurer is almost over. The past three months have been filled with special Board meetings for planning the search and interviewing. Our regular February Board of Ed meeting is this evening, where formal action is slated to employ a new treasurer, effective March 1. To say it's been easy would be a lie.

Complicating life in the superintendent's office has been the search for a new secretary to the supt. "When it rains, it pours" proved true once again. Miriam Owens joined the district office staff as my secretary/administrative assistant in early January, after completing the interview process in December. Welcome, Miriam!

While it may seem that we've been spinning our wheels in the superintendent's office by working on these two important employment decisions, I've also kept up to date on several legislative items and related meetings. Ohio's new state budget proposal was released by Governor Kasich early this week, so "the rain continues to pour" with pertinent, sometimes urgent, work to do as we try to shape Ohio's legislation with valuable input from the education field. I'll be meeting with Senate President Keith Faber and his staff, along with Ohio Dept of Ed representatives, in the coming weeks to discuss career technical issues with the Resident Educator program (RESA) and Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES). Our staff will provide authentic feedback from the field, which we will use to impact legislation for the better--at least that's our goal. Apollo Career Center, in Lima, Ohio Hi-Point Career Center in Bellefontaine, and Vantage CC here in Van Wert, appreciate the invitation to sit down with our state leaders to make improvements.

If it seems like "wheel spinning" these past months, I need only look back to my personal goal which I set in January, 2013, to see more visible progress. Thirteen months ago I committed to healthier, clean eating diet with almost daily exercise, and lost 25 lbs. in five months. I achieved my goal of reducing my cholesterol level without taking statins, Now one year later, I've maintained my weight and learned that I CAN eat cookies again--I just need to exercise and eat clean most of the week.

My new goal is running long distances--I'm up to five miles, and am hoping to make it to 10 or 13 miles later this spring. Time will tell--apparently the dust is NOT settling in my life after all.

Monday, December 29, 2014

What to Blog About?

I see it's been way too long since I last blogged, but it hasn't been for lack of interest. The pace in the district office is normally quick and takes several directions in the course of a school day. Today, December 29, the building is too quiet as staff and students' voices don't fill the hallways. The bells are shut down as well. The lull is nice, yet oddly quiet, and I don't believe I ever get used to it!

Topics on my mind?
1. Where is the severe winter by which we were supposed to be tormented?
2. Was it one of our students' homes which was destroyed by fire last night in the area? I pray not, but it seems to happen all too often that one of our own is victim to a fire tragedy, especially near the holidays.
3. Hopefully students and staff are safe during the holidays and taking some well deserved time to relax and enjoy family. Many of our students also work, and thankfully their daily schedule will be a bit less hectic now that school has dismissed until January 5.
4. The end of the school year is rapidly approaching, and we can't stop it. Our seniors will be grabbing hold of all the memories they can make in this last semester before the reality of life after high school drops into their laps in May. I know we've prepared them as best we can.
5. 2015 will bring challenges (opportunities in disguise) for CTE and for our district. Prayers for wisdom and guidance and teamwork along the way! I have no doubt that our staff can handle whatever may be ahead.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Winter Has Set In

And the delay saga continues. Ohio's recently passed legislation requiring at least a minimum number of hours of seat time in the classroom to eliminate the five calamity days previously given by the state for severe weather. Northwest Ohio, as with many other districts across Ohio, is bound to have problems meeting the required hours without making up days after the school year.

Winter has set in already! Today is another 2 hour delay--but we are grateful that conditions were good enough to hold classes each day this week after the delay. Time will tell how bad this winter will be--perhaps it's an early start with an early spring season to follow! No one would be happier than the school administrators and staff, (and parents and students), who have to battle the uncertainty of whether we are in session or not, and dealing with the worry of traveling safely.

Thanks to all the bus drivers and the conscientious administrators who make the best decisions they can for the district's students. Today matters.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The World Keeps Turning

No matter what we face in life, the world will continue to turn. "New isn't hard, it's just different". I heard this recently from another educator as they described working with a student who was working through an assignment. The student was feeling apprehensive, wanted to get it right, and expected to grasp it immediately, even though it was a new concept and a few steps further into territory he hadn't been in before. Much like the new territory I find myself in as we begin a school treasurer search and almost simultaneously replace the position of superintendent's secretary.

My concern for the district is that it is a seamless transition, as much as that can be possible. The Vantage staff is excellent, and I am grateful to be surrounded by good people. Staff shouldn't feel apprehensive. New isn't hard--it's just different.

I'll miss these two individuals immensely. Best wishes to both as they move on to new challenges.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Students and Staff Having Fun

Vantage students are enjoying a bit of Halloween festivity, from staff wearing a few crazy outfits to our preschoolers trick or treating in the building. Batman paid a visit to the preschool as well (#batmanwearsmascara) #batmanhassuptlicense ! Nevertheless, our students enjoy a thriving school climate which helps to make our technical training school just like a typical high school on most days. Announcements, school fund raisers, contests for math and reading challenges, and lots of community service, including our annual Christmas toy drive to help every child have a little Christmas. I've always liked the interest of our staff in promoting this traditional atmosphere, while in the midst of serious workforce training. While I'm guilty of being "too serious" and "all business", these descriptions often go with the superintendent's territory.

But I've found it's OK to lighten up a bit! Today Matters.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The World by the Tail. . .

Several of our Vantage students indeed have "the world by the tail". Today was our Manufacturing Open House, and five of our trades programs were highlighted. Precision Machining, Welding, Industrial Mechanics, Electricity, and Buildings & Grounds. Students and staff showed off the skills learned here and the facility they enjoy learning and working in most every day. A few students are going home today with job offers in hand--the choice is theirs. And many more students will have those choices to make by the end of this school year. The job offers keep coming when you have skills employers need. And the need is surely there in America, not just in our little corner of rural northwest Ohio.

Trade and Industry Supervisor Ted Verhoff deserves a shout out for a job well done--not only did he organize an excellent Manufacturing Open House today, but he gave a terrific presentation to the local economic development advisory group, who met at Vantage this morning, on our trades programming. Visitors then toured the Open House throughout the day, and enjoyed lunch. Area legislators Senator Cliff Hite, State House of Representatives Tony Burkley, and Senator Rob Portman's office staff, Wes Harbough, toured the facility also.

And I'll close with a big shout out to our teachers, students, and staff who also made today's Open House a fantastic event--whether teacher, cafeteria, public relations, support staff, or administrator--Thank you all! You're terrific!

Follow me @VantageSupt  #IamCareerTech #Gettheedge

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.