TOPEKA — Barton Community College President Dr. Carl Heilman joined a round-table discussion Wednesday during the Governor’s Summit on Career Readiness in Topeka. Heilman said he considers the nature of the summit and Gov. Sam Brownback’s plans for education bold and visionary, according to a news release issued by BCC staff.
"They’re long overdue and needed," he said. "We’re excited, Governor. Kansas community colleges are excited."
Administrators from Kansas high schools, technical schools, community colleges and other educational institutions gathered at the Capitol Plaza Hotel on Wednesday morning to discuss the future of public education in Kansas. The Career Readiness Summit focused on current and potential future strategies for increasing the percentage of high school graduates who are college or career ready.
The scheduled presenters were Donna Deeds, executive director of the Center for Advanced Professional Studies at the Blue Valley School District; Steve Anderson with ACT; Sherry Adrian, incoming president of the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technical Education; and David Patterson, principal at the Hutchinson Career and Technical Education Academy.
The round-table discussion followed the presentations. During an open comment period, Heilman addressed a cultural change in education that links college programs and curriculum into high schools, but he said the change needs to incorporate more than just the two levels of education.
"To see improvement, we need to have improved linkages," he said. "We need improved linkages between secondary and two-year post-secondary institutions, between two- and four-year post secondary institutions, and improved linkages between education and private industry and business. Career and technical education is something we should be proud of."
Heilman was joined by Barton representatives Mike Johnson, chairman of the college’s board of trustees, and by Elaine Simmons, dean of Workforce Training and Community Education.
Others scheduled to join the roundtable discussion were: Dr. Diane DeBacker, Kansas Commissioner of Education; Caleb Asher, Kansas Department of Commerce; Dr. Andy Thompkins, Kansas Board of Regents; Karin Brownlee, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Labor; Richard Taylor, President of the Central and Western Kansas Building and Construction Trades Council and the Plumbers and Pipefitters local 441; and Tony Kinkel, Wichita Area Technical College.