January marks Board Appreciation Month, and Northeast Technology Center is lucky to have a really great Board of Education. The five-member board considers it an honor to serve the students of our district and continually strive to make NTC a better place. Over the past few years, they have been quite successful at doing just that.
“We are privileged to have five board members who work so well together and are truly focused on NTC being among the best at what we do,” said Fred Probis, Superintendent.
NTC board members include President John Long, Vice President Justin Miller, Board Clerk Rosalie Griffith, and Member Joe Hutchison and Billy Hendrickson. Collectively, this team of board members have done well to listen to the district needs and prioritize projects based on what will best serve the patrons of northeast Oklahoma. New buildings, renovations to old facilities, expanded programs, new equipment purchases, and meeting staffing demands, are a must to keep up with current trends in industry and making sure NTC students are career ready when they complete their training.
Some of the major improvements the board has helped facilitate in recent years are new Culinary Arts facilities at both the Afton and Pryor Campuses. These not only serve the students receiving training in these programs, allowing them incredible hands-on learning opportunities, but also allow for great lunches and a fully stocked snack bar for students in the other programs, as Culinary Arts students participate in preparing food for the campuses.
Also at the Afton and Pryor Campuses, new or renovated facilities have been provided for several key programs. The Afton Campus recently received a complete remodel and expansion to its Diesel and Heavy Equipment program classroom and shop. At Pryor, a new state-of-the-art building was completed in 2013 to house the Welding and Metal Fabrication programs and the Diesel and Heavy Equipment program. Plans are currently in the works to remodel their old spaces for other programs as well.
“Our Afton and Pryor Campuses are our oldest campuses,” said Probis. “That means they need the most work. Some of the facilities are the original classroom and shop facilities that were being used 45 years ago, despite the fact that equipment has gotten larger, class sizes have grown, ladies and gentlemen are sharing a single bathroom, and technology has become outdated. Getting our students in larger, better outfitted classrooms is a priority to me as Superintendent, and thankfully this board also recognizes that as a high priority need.”
Cosmetology is one of the most sought-after programs at NTC, but it was also one with the most outdated facilities. Last year, a new Cosmetology building was opened at the Afton Campus and plans are underway to remodel and expand the program at the Pryor Campus.
Still another new facility that was a need in the district was a centrally-located Administration Building. Thanks to the school board’s willingness to fund its construction, the administrative staff was able to move into the new facility in January 2015. The creation of this new facility created easier accessibility to the patrons of the district as well as freed up some much-needed space at the Business and Industry Services Center to allow them to have all of their team members centrally located as well.
“In addition to helping us get the facilities we need to train the best of the best, the board has also been understanding of the need to add new positions to fulfill the needs of our district partners,” said Probis.
Under the direction of the current NTC Board of Education, the Business and Industry Services division has been able to listen to their clients and expand their personnel based on area need. This has included more safety trainers, a soft skills trainer and better-trained business development coordinators.
There was also a need for a district Compliance Coordinator to ensure that NTC is meeting all if its state and federal mandates. The board authorized combining director responsibilities and hiring an assistant position to help with some of the workflow while saving a significant amount of money in order to meet this personnel need with a qualified individual.
The board also thoughtfully considers all requests regarding how to improve training opportunities at NTC. One of those recently came in the form of adding a Pre-Engineering program at the Afton Campus. When the State closed the local OSSM program that was housed on the Afton Campus, NTC immediately realized a need to provide similar STEM training for the students of the area.
“The Board didn’t want to leave those students seeking education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics without many options,” said Probis. “So knowing the value of that type of course work, they authorized us to create and operate our own program.”
An even more recent addition to the opportunities at NTC is that of a BIS training prop at the Pryor Campus. More personalized safety training for area business and industry clients was in high demand, so the school board allowed the construction of the prop which provides business owners a low-cost option for personalized scenario-based training.
“Our board members are here because they truly support NTC,” said Probis, “They believe in what we do and are vested in continually helping us grow and improve. We are very appreciative of everything they do for us and for the patrons of our district.”