Students, administrators changing at Lake County Tech Campus
Steve Clark is the new executive director at the Lake County High School Technology Campus, which draws students from 22 high schools. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 8:38AM
GRAYSLAKE — The Lake County High School Technology Campus Board of Control announced this month that Steve Clark will succeed the retiring Linda Jedlicka as executive director of the school.
Currently, Clark is the system director/executive director at the DuPage Area Occupational Education System/Technology Center of DuPage in Addison.
Twenty-two high schools send students to the Lake County Tech Campus.
Q. Why should students take courses at places like Lake County Tech?
A. A major factor is that students can try multiple careers before graduation and have a head start if they like one. What these programs offer are practical applications to academics, like using algebra in a relevant setting. The typical student has changed in the last 10 years, however. About 80 percent of students statewide follow our classes with post-secondary education at community colleges or other institutions. In the past, most of our students went directly into a career.
Q. With a lot of emphasis on standardized testing, what importance do you place on students having the chance to learn trades?
A. Career training centers have a lot of common core concepts within them, so we embrace the relationship with traditional educators and work together to incorporate more common core into our curriculum. Mathematics and critical analysis are very important to some of the career training we offer. Funding is a little different because career training centers rely more on tuition and grants from state and federal entities. There have been talks and thoughts of reducing funding to such programs, but the needs of the economy have actually swayed more support for our services.
Q. What about Lake County Tech attracted you away from Technology Center of DuPage?
A. The LCT (Lake County Tech) and TCD (Technology Center of DuPage) are leaders in the Midwest when it comes to high school career training centers. Linda Jedlicka, the current director, has created great traditions I can’t help but want to be part of. For LCT, there’s a more diverse student interest that I look forward to meeting and exceeding.
Q. Do you have any changes you would like to implement or the Board of Control has emphasized that they want?
A. The board did not give me any direct, pressing needs or projects to address. What I excel at is enhancing programs. My plan, once I arrive on campus, is to learn the culture, evaluate the programs, and generate ideas on stimulating both equally.
Q. Throughout the recession, which programs have you noticed growing in student popularity versus growing in economic need?
A. Careers related to health care are growing exponentially. There is an immense need. We’re also seeing an upward trend in criminal justice programs, and I don’t know why. Enrollment statewide has gone up four times. I guess becoming a patrol officer or security consultant is popular. The areas taking a hit are in construction and heating/ventilation. We hope they come back, but my job is to monitor the market and guide students based on my findings.
Q. Did you have a vocational occupation prior to becoming an educator?
A. I have been an educator my whole career, but I did some general contracting on the side while I was an instructor. I did residential and light-commercial construction. When I became an administrator in 2006, I no longer had the time and stepped away.