The 2019-2020 Delaware Area Career Center school year isn’t just the first for the completed Consolidated Campus, it’s also the first for four administrators at the high school.
Consolidated Campus Principal Jim Gaskill joined the DACC this year via Thomas Worthington High School, where he helped start a partnership program with Honda of America and Columbus State Community College. It helped put Thomas Worthington students on a fast track to an associate’s degree in engineering and a chance to attend Miami University for a four-year degree in engineering.
“To me, that said a lot of things about what was possible at a high school level as far as connecting with business and industry and really giving kids who have interest the opportunity to pursue that interest and pursue that passion and make the high school experience far more relevant than just a college prep track,” Gaskill said. “…That was my first taste of (what happens at the DACC.) That’s what this place is all about.”
Carrie Trusley, the new career tech supervisor at the DACC, agreed with Gaskill, adding she was also drawn to the DACC because of the opportunities it provides for students. Trusley comes to the DACC from the Educational Service Center (ESC) and has prior experience as a high school principal.
“Coming from a comprehensive high school background, you could only dream of providing the opportunities for kids that we provide here,” Trusley said. “Coming here and being able to do it, especially in my position of career tech supervisor, where I get to do a lot with workplace learning opportunities, that dream has just come to fruition. It’s really amazing to be able to do that and provide those chances for students. We were always trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, and (the DACC) is creating sort of a custom hole for students, whether it’s college or career ready.”
Mike Herzog, one of the consolidate campus’ assistant principals, said at his previous job as an administrator at Whetstone High School in Columbus, they had begun incorporating more career tech programs. He came to the DACC because it offers those opportunities on a larger scale.
“What drew me to the DACC was the opportunities available to students,” Herzog said. “(I was) seeing what the trend is right now and always believing that more students need better job-readiness skills. (The DACC) seemed to fit my goals to foster that environment.”
Buck Weaver is the other assistant principal at the school. He comes from a background of being a teacher and athletic director, most recently at Olentangy Orange High School. Weaver said he was drawn to the DACC because it’s a needed opportunity for high school students.
“This is exactly what America needs right now,” Weaver said. “There’s been such a huge push for college, college, college for kids, and they go through college and graduate, and it doesn’t work out for them and they have no idea what they are going to do. The idea of the career center is exactly what kids need.”
David Gillam, the returning students services supervisor, said the changing leadership has given the administration a fresh perspective.
“I think we’re off to a great start,” Gillam said. “We have great chemistry, because they are coming from different levels of administration experience so they have a lot to bring to the table. We just want the most for our students so they get the best career technical education and academic experience as possible. I love the career center, because we are constantly evolving with new programming that meets the demographics of our areas.”
Returning Director of Adult Education Chad Williams agreed, stating the variety in staff mirrors the student population as well.
“Every year our students come from multiple districts. They have different experiences, and each one of those students and administrators can add to the whole through their experiences,” Williams said.
Trusley agreed, adding the administrative team has gotten along well so far.
“I feel like this is a great team,” he said. “I’ve been in three districts and five buildings, and we have not been together long, but it feels like we’ve been together for a very long time — in a good way.”