Incoming Delaware Area Career Center Superintendent Jay Poroda said he’s looking forward to getting to know the school and community when he joins the district this summer.
Poroda was named to the position after the DACC Board of Education voted to approve his appointment at its March 18 meeting. Poroda will replace long-time Superintendent Mary Beth Freeman, who announced in the fall that she would be retiring.
Poroda said he’s been working in public education for 26 years in a variety of school systems and settings, including as a principal for the Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy in Columbus City Schools; and several positions at Tolles Career & Technical Center in Madison County, where he is currently the assistant superintendent.
Poroda said career technical education is where he’s “found his passion.”
“I think career centers and career technical education really does a lot for our students and for our communities,” Poroda said. “When we look at our students that come to our career center, we really give them strong skills not just be ready for a career, we talk about college and career readiness but also human readiness. We give them those academic career skills, but we also provide them with the skills to function within society. Being empathetic, being culturally aware and responsive, having those skills to function well as a good employee and a strong member of the community.”
Poroda said he likes that career centers allow students to build close mentor and role model relationships with teachers in their fields of interest.
“The structure of a career center provides a student with half a day to be really engaged with a teacher and to be engaged with a small group of students and really develop strong respect relationships with that staff member and have a real connection in school,” Poroda said, adding he was drawn to the DACC because its values closely match his own philosophy that “anybody coming into school needs to feel safe, secured, nurtured, challenged and engaged and it’s my job to make that happen.”
“What drew me to DACC is the fact that I’m passionate about career technical education,” he said. “The DACC has such a strong reputation locally, in the region, and across the state. (The DACC’s motto of) ‘empowering, preparing, inspiring and connecting’ (are) powerful words, and they really mirror my philosophy on education. How they connect so clearly to my personal vision as a leader made me want to be the superintendent at the DACC. I’m so proud to lead a district with a staff that embraces that philosophy.”
He added his first goal is to get to know the school and the community.
“There is a big goal I have and that big goal is … to listen to all our stakeholder groups, from our amazing school staff, to our amazing students, to our associate school partners, to our business partners within the community and families,” Poroda said. “To listen to them and get their perspectives on where they see the district, and to learn from them.”
Poroda said having an understanding of the school and community is essential to leading it.
“Schools are living things, living beings, and they are composed of people, and I really need to take that time to know all the stakeholder groups and what their needs and aspirations are in the district,” he said. “It’s a big task.”
Poroda will join the district on June 1, and his formal contract will begin in Aug. 1.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.