The Sedalia School District 200 accepted the resignation of one of its outstanding educators in closed session Monday night.
Although the Sedalia district is losing Michael Wright, an instructional technology teacher at Smith-Cotton High School, he plans to continue working with the educational system in Pettis County. Wright is slated to become the Executive Director of the State Fair Career and Technology Center, pending approval from the State Fair Community College Board of Trustees at the Feb. 23 meeting.
“There are so many things that have meant so much to me in my time at Sedalia 200,” Wright said. “I think more than anything I will miss building the relationships and connections I have with both the students and the staff here.
“One of the best things about teaching is seeing the expression on a student’s face when they first come to you with some uncertainty or hesitation and then seeing their expressions when they get it, and then when they run with the concept.”
Wright has had the opportunity to experience many of those opportunities both in and out of the classroom.
In addition to his teaching duties, Wright was instrumental in the development of the Team SCREAM competitive robotics program at S-C.
“Starting Team SCREAM is probably one the the proudest accomplishments I have had in my life,” Wright said. “It has given me such pride and enjoyment, especially in seeing the sense of community and school involvement the team has received.
“We’ve spent a lot of time building some pretty amazing machines in the last few years and working side by side with both the students and the community has been an incredible experience,” Wright added.
Wright will use that experience in his new job at SFCC. As director of the CTC, Wright will oversee a department responsible for the education of students from 11 area-sending schools.
“I really want to help lead the growth and development of the CTC to provide programs that are relevant and will meet the demands of both the students and the local industries,” Wright said. “The local communities and industries have a high demand for skilled workers and I see one of my roles as developing a partnership between those businesses and preparing the students at SFCC for more college and career readiness.”
The support from the Sedalia administration is something Wright considers invaluable in both his time at Sedalia and his new position at SFCC.
“The support from the district has been tremendous and incredibly positive,” Write said. “The way that I have been treated here is what I want to do in my new position; I want to grow and develop my staff and the students and give them every opportunity to succeed.”
Superintendent Brad Pollitt and S-C Principal Wade Norton expressed their disappointment in losing Wright as an instructor.
“We are losing a tremendous instructor who will be very hard to replace,” Pollitt said by phone Tuesday. “He has made a large impression on our students and the community through his work in the classroom, the robotics program and Project Lead the Way.
“We are disappointed to lose him but we are pleased that he will continue to help our students and the community through his work at State Fair,” Pollitt added.
In a statement provided to the Democrat, Norton agreed.
“Mr. Wright has built the foundation of a strong, thriving program,” Norton said. “The foundation he is leaving behind will allow the next instructor to continue the progress and help us move to a higher level.
“Mr. Wright will be missed by students and staff,” Norton added. “We are excited to watch him evolve the CTC to meet the needs of all the sending districts.”
Wright told his students Tuesday of his decision.
“The decision to leave has been one of the hardest I have ever made in my life,” Wright said Tuesday afternoon. “I spent the entire weekend with my family and we talked about the decision and prayed about it.
“I am very excited about this new opportunity but I am also excited to be here for this semester,” Wright said. “We have a lot to accomplish and we will push hard to make this last semester the best for the students and Team SCREAM.”
According to a Sedalia 200 press release, Wright joined Sedalia 200 in August 2011. He earned his bachelor’s degree in construction management from the University of Central Missouri in May 2006, and completed his technology and engineering teaching course work in 2010.
Wright earned his master’s degree in CTC teaching leadership from UCM in July 2012. Wright was selected as the Sedalia Community Educators Association Outstanding Educator in 2013, and was honored by his peers as the Coach/Mentor of the Year at the inaugural Missouri Robotics State Championship in May 2015.
At State Fair, Wright will be responsible for the SFCTC located on SFCC’s Sedalia campus. It is one of four career and technology centers in Missouri affiliated with a community college.
The SFCTC offers training to high school juniors and seniors in eight technical training programs:
“SFCC offers certificate and degree programs in almost all of these programs and students attending the CTC earn college credit toward completion of a college degree,” according to a SFCC press release.
“Another program offered by the SFCTC is the Alternative Education program, which provides credit recovery coursework, basic skills instruction, study- and test-taking skills, career choices and career awareness, pre-employment skills, and preparation to pass the High School Equivalency test through the Mo Option program.”
This year, there are 215 students enrolled, which is an increase of 12 percent over last year and is the highest level in seven years.
“We’re excited to have him,” said Mark Kelchner, dean of Technical Education and Workforce Innovation. “Michael has excellent technical skills and his experience working with employees and industry will prove helpful as the college continues to create and improve pathways to career and technical jobs for young people and people already in the workforce.
“Michael has a great reputation in the area and has proven experience with growing programs, ” Kelchner added. “He’s been very successful at Smith-Cotton, and we look forward to him joining our team.”
If approved Feb. 23, Wright will begin his position at the college effective July 1.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484