Tech News

New Teacher Feature

Gina Schuyler is approaching her 20th year as a part of the Tech Campus family. She started out as a teacher, then transitioned into the Workforce Development Coordinator, and she was recently named the new Assistant Principal for Student Services. Learn more about Gina below:

Q: What are you most excited about?

A: In my new role, I’m most excited to continue some of the work I was doing as Workforce Development Coordinator. We tried something new as a staff, which were our career expos. I asked the staff to take a leap of faith, and I felt like they were doing it right along with me.

I was excited that these career expos are going to be a part of my new role as Assistant Principal, it’s part of the student services we offer. Introducing students to job shadows, internships and site visits is great. 

I'm also excited to continue my outreach to the schools, and be a part of the staff's day here. I want to share the message of what CTE (Career Technical Education) is and what we have to offer here. 

Q: What drew you to CTE in the first place?

I think everybody should have the opportunity to explore. The labor market in the next 5-7 years indicates that not everyone has to have the same type of education. I think there is a misnomer that vocational education means no college.

It means education, but it looks different for everyone. I think the book is open for everyone, and I think that is a much better opportunity for students, because were asking them to make decisions on the rest of their life, but we’re not (in some schools) allowing them to explore and use their hands and see what a day in the life of a certain occupation is.  

But by being here, they’re allowed to do that; and we have outstanding staff who have been in that role so they know how to direct them. I think it’s differentiation in it’s highest and best form.

Whether it’s a parent, a school or a counselor, you’re almost making an individualized plan for each student. 

Q: On the Career Expos:

A: We decided if we were going to do it, let’s really have our students ready, which meant resume development. Now that we have the expos, we have a reason for the resume building. After the past Career Expo, we had 399 students last year either get internships, job shadows, or apprenticeships as a direct result.

My goal for the Tech Campus is to have every student attend at least one Career Expo during their time here.

Q: On Secondary Education:

A: I think that’s the best part about the Career Expos, because we’re vetting companies ahead of time. We’re involving the students with companies, who in many times, can help them gain education.

I’m a big believer in furthering education across the board, but sometimes when we get involved in a manufacturing center, or an assisted living facility, you might not know there is an opening in that area until you experience it.

So, an internship or job shadow allows you to talk to the people there and get a better understanding of the educational path you have to take to get to that career. 

Q: On her personal life: 

My husband is also an educator, and dinner conversations with our two kids are always interesting. I don’t know if they like having two educators as parents, but they keep us busy. We enjoy spending time with each other and spending time outdoors. 

Q: What's your favorite part of being a teacher?

The best part for me, with Facebook now, is keeping in touch with former preschool students who are now going off to college. Just following that circle of life, you really see the students from one aspect to another.

For example, a student who needed a little bit more redirection contacts you later on and says ‘thanks, you gave me the push I needed’ and knowing that I made an impact on their life somehow -- that's awesome. It’s amazing to think about the number of students that any teacher has come into contact with and the affect they can make. 

New Teacher Feature

Patrick Vranak has been with the Tech Campus for a few years as a Teacher's Aide, but in 2017-2018 he will be taking the reigns of his own classroom. Learn a little bit more about Pat and what he's like as a person and a teacher:

Q: How did you get into culinary? 

A: Most of my jobs were in a kitchen. My first job was at a Dairy Queen. I also play in a band; been in a band for about 15 years. I used to tour around and be gone a lot. When you’re good at working in a kitchen, "Mom and Pop" stores will hire you on the spot.

So when I would leave and go on the road and come back, I could come back home, walk into a kitchen, and ask if they needed any help.

Eventually, I worked retail management in a beauty supply shop for nine years. I supported my wife while she went through college, and after she was done I went back to culinary school.

Q: So you're in a band, what do you play?

A: I play bass and guitar in a punk rock band. I like all kinds of music though, I actually hope to start my own 50's rock-n-roll cover band someday.

Q: Do you have any kids?

A: I have two kids, ages three and four. They keep me busy. People think I have summers off, but I don't (laughs).

Q: How'd you get into teaching?

A: When I became a dad, it opened my eyes to my priorities. I was looking for a position that would allow me to have a more normalized, 9-5 schedule. I actually applied to this job an hour after it opened. I was originally hired as an aide, but was looking to get added as an instructor. 

Q: What is the curriculum like?

A: We have a dual credit program with CLC, and our curriculum aligns closely with theirs. We encourage the kids to be creative and efficient. 

Q: What do you like about teaching?

A: I couldn't imagine doing anything else. It's incredible. You see the kids have these little locked treasure chests in their head that open when they start to get the concepts, and nothing beats that. 

I want the kids to learn from their mistakes, but also to not be afraid to try new things, because you never learn anything unless you fail first.