I have lost count of the number of folks who have asked me when I am planning on retiring-if I was easily offended, I might be insulted by the question being asked so often-LOL!
I know part of the reason they ask is because I joke about it all the time, and part-probably the more important part-is because we are about to undertake the most extensive transformation of CTE in our 85 year history, and they want to know if I am going to jump ship now that we are getting into the nitty gritty.
Six years ago, I came to the position of Senior Executive Director for CTE with the intention of staying four years and finishing out my 30 year career with OCPS in the summer of 2017. Having been in several positions throughout those first 26 years, anywhere from 3 to 7 years, I knew that we could accomplish a lot in those four planned years-and boy did we-and then we went on to accomplish even more these past two years.
All of this progress has led us to where we are today, and to the real beginning of 'Vision 2022'. On a recent Tuesday night, the school board approved the architect for our new Orange Technical College - Westside Campus! In other words, it's real now.
Over the past couple years, I realized that it wouldn't be 2022 when we finished this transformation, which was the initial projection I received five years ago. So I have been asking myself for a long time now, do I stay or do I go? Do I let someone else see this through from beginning to end?
We are currently projected to finish the OTC - Westside Campus in 2022, the Orlando and Winter Park Campuses in 2023, and the Mid Florida Campus in 2024. That is a long way beyond my initial plan of 2017! Seven years beyond when I thought I would be retiring and five years from now. It has been a long thought process in my mind, trading off this for that and doing all the "what if's", but in the end, the answer was always right there for me.
It is my goal to see this through, and to stay until the last building is up and done in 2024-anything beyond that will be a decision for another time. There are many reasons that I have come to this conclusion. I love what I do and who I get to work with, both inside and outside of our organization. I also love what we do for students, and ultimately, what we do together for our community.
Internally, I believe that the reason I got to build Ocoee High School, and rebuild University High School, was actually preparation for this rebirth of OTC, and that there are very few out there who have had that experience and who have navigated a large staff through those waters. I also believe that the last thing we need as we enter these next five years of planned "chaos" is instability in the Associate Superintendent position caused by me.
That being said, there are never any guarantees. There are a myriad of things out of my control, but should all go well and nothing crazy happen, I am committed to see this through as we continue to improve and build our way to being the best in the nation at Changing lives Through Education.
Thank you for being a part of the CTE family and have a great CTE Month! Mike.