Tue, July 16

Out of the classroom and into the driver's seat<br><i>Dave Dumas new director for Mingus vocational programs</i>

"That's what high school is all about," Dumas explains. "It's way exciting."

As the administrator of vocational programs, Dumas will discover the opportunity to hear the passionate please of agriculture supporters like Andy Groseta.

On Thursday, Dumas was in the packed audience when board members turned down a request made by agriculture supporters for about $40,000 of vocational monies not yet allocated by the district.

Next year, the program may find a more sympathetic ear, perhaps even an advocate.

"I'll be the director, so I guess the next time I'll be the first person to contact," said Dumas adding, "I couldn't find anything to argue with what Andy said. It's a tough call, but everything he said was pretty true."

Dumas intends to create a priorities list and a three-year plan for the vocational programs at Mingus. Classes such as welding, auto tech, computer aided drafting, web design, certified nursing assistant courses and others all desire more of the budget dictated by the receipt of funds from the Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education (VACTE).

Last year the joint vocational district allocated over $555,000 to the Mingus Union District.

"There's a lot of demand for the money," Dumas explains. "If we divide it equally nobody is going to get anything."

Concentrating on one program at a time is one way to build up certain courses in need of funding, says Dumas.

While others get by with existing personnel and limited increases for supplies another program can begin its ascent. The result: a diversified vocational curriculum within one campus.

And that, says Dumas, is "way cool."

Who's wearing the tool belt now?

In June, Larry E. Wilson was hired by the Mingus Union District as the new building trades instructor. Wilson has experience in all aspects of construction and as a teacher led students to work on a Habitat for Humanity project in Michigan. Wilson has worked as a building trades instructor in a variety of educational environments and most recently for Grayling High School in Michigan. He has an industrial arts certification form Central Michigan University and a bachelor's of science degree from Ferris State College.