City School Board honors new Education Hall of Fame members, votes to apply for $1.5 million grant

Published 9:36 am Friday, April 21, 2023

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Star Correspondent
The Elizabethton City Schools is applying for $1.5 million to further develop its career and technical education programs.
The school board met Thursday and unanimously approved a motion to approve the grant application for the Innovative School Model Grant for fiscal year 2023 through the Tennessee Department of Education. The grant provides $1 million for each high school and $500,000 for each middle school in the state.
Just last year, the Tennessee Department of Education announced applications were open for districts to apply for the approximately $500 million in total grants, which it said will reimagine opportunities for career readiness and student success statewide.
Brian Culbert, the career and technical education director for Elizabethton, said the grant funding would be used to add construction programing.
Adding a construction program of study will allow the district to offer more industry certification, according to documentation on the city’s grant. The city has already added construction to a memorandum of understanding with Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Elizabethton. Students will “get clock credits” in construction, the information states.
The First Tennessee Development District has identified construction as one of the four areas that the region needs to target.
Director of Schools Richard VanHuss and the board recognized two Elizabethton educators who have been added to the Education Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes one living and one deceased educator.
The recent additions included Dr. Josh Wandell, a former principal at East Side Elementary School who died in 2020. Wandell was an ALS awareness advocate.
VanHuss said Wandell provided many contributions and had a positive impact on the community. Wandell’s daughter was present for the recognition.
Ed Alexander, a former school director in Elizabethton, was also recognized for his contributions and support of students, staff and the community.
The board also recognized Dr. Steve Hopland, who provided a “generous donation” to the Elizabethton aviation program, according to Culbert.
“I learned to fly when I was in high school here,” said Hopland, who added, “I was happy to partner and donate.”
Culbert said schools across the state often look at Elizabethton and its program when considering adding aviation education.
“We’re going to expand it and make it even better,” Culbert said.
The CTE director noted that 11 students are working on flying solo this semester and some will likely seek to obtain their private flying license this summer.
Eleven kids are working on flying solo this semester, some to try for private license this summer.

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