Dr. Armbruster Director’s Message – November, 2018

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and had some great times spent with family and friends.

It was a little different for us this year as we are remodeling our kitchen at home and my daughter was out of town celebrating near Philadelphia. Other family members were scattered around here and there and it ended up just being my mom, my father-in-law and my wife Sandi-so we cheated! We went to Cracker Barrel and had a great meal, minus the leftovers-LOL.

Two things stood out to me in the picture from our meal together, one was that I used to actually fit on my mom’s lap, and two was the hat that my father-in-law picked to wear from his pristine collection of hundreds. You see, thirty years ago I actually designed that particular hat for our annual golf tournament at our Westside Campus using the school colors of the day. I remember being so excited when I put the design together on some old software program that doesn’t even exist today, then opening the box when the hats came in and thinking, “YES!”

Looking at the hat now, I’m thinking I should have put a blue outline around the yellow letters-LOL! Today I would have done it differently-but thirty years ago, I thought I had it going on. That’s the joy of life, always learning and always growing.

I love being a lifelong learner and I love when people help me see things in myself that I don’t always see. In recent weeks, I’ve been blessed to have people share with me some of my “shortcomings” as they see them. Now, for some people that may not seem like a blessing, but for me, it is. Through these conversations I am able to get better as a person and as a leader.

What makes me happiest is that we’ve created an environment in CTE which allows us to share the good, the bad and the ugly with each other, not personalizing it, but sharing so that we can become better as an organization. It takes a good amount of courage to put yourself out there and share someone else’s perceived shortcomings with them, especially when that person you’re talking to is your boss, but we have worked hard to make that OK.

It didn’t happen overnight, it has taken time to get to this place, but that is the power of real collaboration and that is how we will continue to be the best. I don’t always agree with other’s assessments of me-LOL-but that is all right too. You see, it isn’t about who is right or wrong in these conversations, it’s about learning and growing and usually, when we have those conversations, we both learn and grow and that is a beautiful thing.

I hope that each of you will help me continue to grow, whatever your role is – student, faculty member, community partner, industry partner or education partner- and help us continue to get better at Changing Lives Through Education!

Collaborating Toward Excellence, it isn’t easy, but it is the best path to get to where we are going!

Have a great CTE Month! Happy Holidays, Mike.