PIQUA — The takeaway from 2020 at the Upper Valley Career Center is the validation of just how vital in-person education is to students. Serving over 1,000 juniors and seniors on the Piqua main campus, over 3,400 students in grade 7-12 through satellite programs, and hundreds of Adult Division students, UVCC rode the roller coaster of closings, quarantines, and covid protocols with the rest of the state and nation over the course of the year. With both trials and victories along the way, our staff had the great pleasure of realizing the true value and significant impact that daily face-to-face interactions have on our students.
The Career Center was able to start the school year on a hybrid schedule, allowing students to get back into the classrooms and labs, and after the first quarter transitioned back to full-time on-campus instruction. Since then, the school has worked to continue as many traditional elements of the school experience as possible, while working to keep students and staff safe in the midst of the Covid pandemic.
Looking to the future
The start of 2021 brought with it a transition in administration at Upper Valley Career Center. Dec. 31, 2020, marked Dr. Nancy Luce’s official retirement after having led the school for 12 years. With a career in education spanning more than 40 years, Luce brought the best of her knowledge and experience to help make UVCC that best it has ever been.
“Dr. Luce left quite a legacy here,” said Superintendent Jason Haak. “She certainly took to heart the phrase ‘leave a place better than you found it’. Our staff and administration are dedicated to continuing to build upon the phenomenal work of Dr. Luce. She will certainly be missed by everyone here, but we hope she can slow down enough to enjoy her well-deserved retirement.”
The transition in administration should be relatively seamless for the Career Center. Mr. Haak was previously the executive director at UVCC before being named assistant superintendent. With 10 years of experience at UVCC, and the ability to work closely with Dr. Luce over the past number of months in preparation for her retirement, he was well-prepared for his new role.
After a full search for a new executive director was completed, Michelle Brunson, instructional superviser at the Career Center, was selected to fill Haak’s vacated position.
“Michelle has been a leader in Career Tech for years both locally and across the state. Her experiences as a career technical teacher and her advocacy for career tech at the state and national level with professional organizations make her uniquely qualified for the executive director position,”said Haak. “As a supervisor at UVCC, Michelle is familiar with the organization and has worked closely with associate school principals and counselors, which will help make a seamless transition.”
Over the past year, the Adult Division continued advancing their goal of providing opportunities for adults in our communities by developing and revamping programs to help employers meet the current skills gap head-on. Among those programs are industrial microcredentials as well as welding. Students and employers can enroll in full certification programs or select individual components from those programs to learn or improve upon a specific skill.
In addition to the industrial side, the demands in healthcare are more than obvious.
“We work closely with our healthcare partners in the area to understand their staffing needs and to provide relevant certifications that allow our students to walk out of here and into a very in-demand career position,” said Duane Caudill, Adult Division Director.
UVCC is looking forward to a bright future in 2021 and beyond.