2017-04-13 / Front Page

RVTC's Farr named Tech Center Director of the Year

By CAMERON PAQUETTE

Scott Farr — COURTESY OF RIVER VALLEY TECHNICAL CENTERScott Farr — COURTESY OF RIVER VALLEY TECHNICAL CENTERSPRINGFIELD, Vt. — River Valley Technical Center Director and Superintendent Scott Farr has been named 2017-2018 Tech Director of the Year, and is one of seven school officials to be honored by the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) during a ceremony in August.


Farr was selected by the Regional Tech Center Directors, theVPA Executive Council, and his peers for the distinction, and will be honored at the VPA Leadership Academy awards banquet on Wednesday, Aug. 2 at Killington’s Grand Hotel.


“Nominated by their peers and the public at large, each of the principals listed was selected recently by a committee of the VPA Executive Council and past award winners for outstanding building and educational leadership,” the organization released in a statement.


Located in Springfield, Vermont, RVTC operates as its own school district, a distinction that is unique in the state. The tech center draws students from Springfield High School, Bellows Falls Union High School, Black River High School, Compass School, and Green Mountain Union High School in Vermont, and Fall Mountain Regional High School in New Hampshire.


The tech center also enrolls home school students, recent high school graduates and students from private schools.


Farr is currently in his third year as director and superintendent, after serving about 10 years as assistant director beforehand. A native of Bristol, Vermont, Farr currently lives in Springfield. He said that with his father being a machinist, and himself growing up to become an educator, working at a technical center was a perfect fit.


He said that the tech center offers students the chance to get their feet wet in different career fields before moving on to secondary education.


“The most important decision you make in your life is what you want to do,” Farr said. “You might as well test drive all the options before you make an important decision.”


And with an aging population and manufacturers looking to find employees, Farr said the demand for young potential employees in fields that the tech center teaches is greater than the number of students going through the tech center. 


“Our phone here is ringing off the hook” with employers asking if there are students available to work, he said. “We want to give kids more of an opportunity to come to the technical center and figure out what’s in their community as far as career options.”


Access to tech center programming has been a major initiative for Farr. A bill currently in the Vermont House Committee on Education, H. 455, would expand the offering of technical programs from those in grades 11 and 12 to those in grades 9 through 12. It would also call for changes to the funding system for tech centers and school districts to make things more equitable for the entities to coexist.


Farr has worked with other tech center directors in Vermont to push forward the legislation.


"When a student comes to the tech center, the high school loses that tuition revenue," Farr said. “I don’t think it’s good to have somebody win and somebody lose when the student has to choose."


Springfield School District Superintendent Zachary McLaughlin said the Farr “works with us unbelievably closely,” and that Farr is very committed to the students.


“He’s always looking to help carry kids through,” he said.


The tech center also offers a summer Tech Camp program for incoming 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students that has been in operation for more than 20 years. Last year, the camp had 63 participants — the largest ever.


"We have a high degree of [student] satisfaction," Farr said. “I have a great group of staff that are all in it for helping the kids."


More than 250 school leaders will gather for the three-day event in Killington, Aug. 1-3. The event will feature seven “learning strands” for school leaders on topics such as technology, resilient schools, and power dynamics.





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