Willis Independent School District celebrates $39.4M CTE Center

Under a cool, clear blue sky, Willis ISD board members joined Superintendent Tim Harkrider in shoveling dirt Wednesday in celebration of the realization of a community vision.

School officials laughed and spoke loudly over the construction sounds of steel beams being erected behind them for the long-awaited $39.4 million Career and Technology Education Center. The 112,950-square-foot project is one of nine passed by WISD voters in the $109.5 million bond package in 2015.

Harkrider arrived at Willis ISD in 2013 and recalled nearly two years of meetings, drawings and more for the first bond passed under his leadership with the CTE project.

“To see it now, and when I walked through it two weeks ago, all I could say was wow,” Harkrider told a crowd of about two dozen community members gathered under a tent. “To build a facility like this for the community of Willis, this is a big day for our school district and I’m thrilled that you are a part of it. There was a lot of hard work and dedication, a lot of hours spent on a whole lot of different fronts by a lot of people. I think a lot of dreaming, a lot of hoping, a lot of praying, but hopefully Lord willing this thing is going to open August 2018 …”

The CTE Center, which sits next to Willis High School on FM 830, will house nearly 500 to 600 students who will step foot in a modern-day learning environment with a tech look and collegiate feel designed with open spaces, common areas, garage doors, classrooms, dining areas and areas for culinary arts, manufacturing, automotive mechanics, welding and manufacturing, health and science, cosmetology, media technology, robotics, computer programing, architecture, engineering labs, its own cafeteria and more.

“I think it can have a profound impact just from a stand point of about 55-60 percent of (about an average class of 400) seniors enroll in a university or junior college the following year, so we have about 35-40 percent now that we are really wanting to appeal to because we’ve doubled the certification offerings we will have,” Harkrider said. “With the offerings, kids enjoy coming to school because they have something they believe in – so attendance improves, grades improve because you’re here and you have a little bit more motivation to come to school every day.”

Click here to read Meagan Ellsworth’s complete article published on LMTonline website. 

About Timmothy Boettcher

Business Career Originally recruited in 1998 as a software engineer to design and develop cutting edge technology for new products, Mr. Boettcher assumed leadership for Research and Development and then Engineering before being named President of Realityworks in 2005. Responsible for total operations, he has driven significant understanding of market opportunities, gatekeepers, and funding in education, healthcare, and public service markets; bolstered production and supply chain efficiencies; acquired and launched new age technology; rebuilt leadership competencies; led growth into the Company’s over 65% US school system and over 90 country presence; and led the implementation of the Company’s ESOP to build on the societal mission of the Company and further the family oriented culture to reward employees for their success in achieving the mission and efforts to drive growth. Focused on high market growth, he has led the Company’s turnaround and achieved double-digit top line growth simultaneously with dramatic profit and cash flow improvement. Mr. Boettcher brings more than twenty years of engineering, product development, and global operations experience in education, advanced technology, manufacturing, and distribution industries. Prior to joining Realityworks, he held positions at Cray Research, a leading manufacturer of the world’s fastest supercomputers and Wal-Mart Distribution, the world’s leader in distribution and logistics. Professional & Community Activities Mr. Boettcher is passionate about building effective connections between our countries workforce development system, economic development programs, and education infrastructure. A solid connection between these systems is needed to ensure our youth and workforce are prepared to be global competitive and ready to take on the challenges and needs faced by industry. In delivering on this passion Mr. Boettcher: - has presented workforce development strategies on the national level for Harvard’s Pathway’s to Prosperity, U.S. Department of Labor, and at many Career and Technical Education events. - established and currently chairs the Industry Workforce Needs Council (IWNC), a national level group of industry leaders that works directly with education to increase support for Career and Technical Education in the country in alignment with industry needs. - served on the Board of Directors for the Association for Career and Technical Education. - chaired the Western Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (Chair) to help establish and lead regional workforce development initiatives. - established and led the Innovation Foundation of Western Wisconsin (Chair) to help bring critical C-level talent to start-ups and small to mid-sized companies to help them grow. - served on the Board for the Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation (President). - and provides guidance to institutions like the International Business Programs Advisory Council of the University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire). Mr. Boettcher also holds seven U.S. and foreign patents.

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