Today Matters, Vantage Superintendent Blog

Superintendent

Superintendent

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.




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