Today Matters, Vantage Superintendent Blog



Saturday, January 26, 2013

Step Into Your Future at Vantage CC!

What a terrific morning! Today Vantage is again hosting 40 area junior high girls for our annual "Step Into Your Future" program. These girls will experience hands-on training in Network Systems, Welding, Precision Machining, and Construction trades. Three of our trades instructors are teaching the girls how to use the trade's equipment safely and actually make something today to take home. I could have stayed with each group all day, as it was so exciting to see these young ladies actively engaged with what they were being taught. Our teachers, past alumni, staff, and teacher aides who came in to help today are doing a terrific job!

In keeping with the informal writing, "what have I been doing lately?" seems to work! I returned from a one-week vacation in Florida, where I enjoyed weather in the 80's, and walked at least 8 to 10 miles daily on the beach. While vacation was great, I am glad to be back in the school building, as I had to spend three days in Columbus during my first week back, to meet with Ohio's legislators and carry the message of career and technical education. This was time well-spent, and our directors, Pete Prichard and Bob Vennekotter, also noted that this year's visits were perhaps the best ever.

Why do I say that? The nation, and Ohio, know there is a skills gap in our workforce. CTE continues to try to fill that gap. The Governor's office has set up a system to better integrate industry with education, so that all stakeholders know and communicate their projected skill needs to institutions who can provide training. It is a wonderful time to work in CTE, as I have never seen such awareness of CTE, and recognition of the potential impact we can have on our workforce from our state legislature and federal government. This year marks my 23d year in CTE, and as a business teacher for nine years prior to this, I know the value of teaching workplace skills to high school students. It just makes sense.

The superintendent's position allows me to fully develop Vantage Career Center in both high school and adult workforce training. When I see the results of displaced workers who now have a new career, and young junior high girls who learn not to fear the "foreign" tools of the trades they chose to learn about today, I am encouraged again, that career-technical education can, and does, fill a vital role in our community.

See what Vantage can do for you! Come to the Grand Open House on Feb. 25, 5 - 8 p.m., and see our new school!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 10, 2013

Why am I blogging at 10:30 p.m.? Tomorrow I have an early start to a busy half day at Vantage before I am supposed to start a week of vacation! Yes, the blogging guilt bug struck, and I knew I couldn't leave with a clear conscience unless I blogged before leaving Van Wert for a warmer climate. Being the scheduled person I am, I also know that I will have zero time tomorrow for blogging. I will be lucky to get out of the office on time, but I will go public here and state that is my goal!

In my last blog, I mentioned writing more informally in 2013. A few good comments have been received since that blog, so I had better live up to my informal writing intent.

Where to start? I need to be up at 5 a.m. to be at Vantage greeting guests at 7:30 a.m. for the Van Wert Economic Development Advisory Committee meeting, which Vantage is hosting tomorrow in our new Community Room. So an easy topic is what did I do today? It was a pretty productive day! Here's the play by play:
8:07 a.m. arrived at the office, gulping the last of my tea in the car as I parked, (yes, I drive one-handed), and draining my daily protein shake (chocolate) as soon as I got into my office. Walked the halls before school started, greeting students and staff who I passed, and then watched students head for classes at the last bell.
Next, I met with our Director, Bob Vennekotter to verify the square footage of several classrooms and training spaces in preparation for a 1:00 p.m. meeting with an educational partner who is interested in utilizing some of our newly renovated space at Vantage.
I spent the next two hours at my desk, compiling my notes for the 1 p.m . meeting, while reviewing strategy for the meeting with our Adult Ed Director, Pete Prichard. In between, the office phone rang, my cell phone rang with an important call regarding our solar array plans, and my administrative assistant, Vicki Smith, brought miscellaneous "to do" items and helped me find some electronic files.
11:30 a.m. rolled around before I knew it, and I managed to make it to lunch with staff in the commons, being fortunate enough to sit at a table with goodies for Lori Allen's birthday today! Yes, I turned down the brownies, as I didn't want to be on "sugar overload" for my 1 p.m. meeting!
After lunch I played "beat the clock" and entered several upcoming professional leave dates and all the detail that has to go with each request into the HR Kiosk, which we use to electronically process all leave requests and absences.
The 1 p.m. meeting went great, and another 3 p.m. meeting followed just minutes later. This one was really good, and I think all who attended today's Labor Management Committee meeting would agree. While this meeting ran over a bit, I stayed for some small talk afterward with the administrative team, Ben and Bob and Ted, before leaving for Paulding for the Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours! Luckily I didn't have to be there at 4:30 as I had planned, but I enjoyed an hour of great conversation and food at Arandas Mexican Grill on N. Williams St. from 5 to 6 pm.
The event was sponsored by Werlor, Inc., located in Defiance. Werlor is a waste management and recycling firm who has been in business for years. I was lucky enough to win one of the giveaway T-shirts, which says boldly on the back: "Let's Talk Trash!" (I am not sure where I can wear it in the community, but it did go into my suitcase tonight to take on my vacation!)
So my day concluded with packing and paying bills and blogging--and my laptop says it's 11 p.m. and that means "lights out" finally for me! What a day--but a lot of good things happened today. I hope tomorrow is just as good.