SouthernTech Announces New Leadership
SouthernTech is set to start the 2021-2022 school year with a new superintendent. At the SouthernTech board meeting in February, Dr. David Powell submitted his resignation announcing his retirement effective June 30, 2021. In a subsequent move, the district’s board approved the hiring of current Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Eric Ward, to become the new Superintendent of SouthernTech beginning July 1st.
Dr. Ward will be only the 4th superintendent in the school’s 55-year history. “With the support of the board, Dr. Ward will undoubtedly take this technology center district to the next level,” said Powell. “He is focused on our mission to close the skills gap and to provide high-quality, skills-based, technical education opportunities that drive economic success.”
Taking over the role of assistant superintendent is Dr. Stephanie Bills. Dr. Bills is joining SouthernTech from MetroTech, another school in the Oklahoma CareerTech system in the Oklahoma City area. She is originally from Konawa, Oklahoma.
Bills is excited to join SouthernTech and support the mission of the district and the communities. “As a long-time career technical education leader, I have always been inspired by SouthernTech’s continuous improvement approach to program offerings and their ability to respond quickly to the needs of business and industry,” said Bills. “I am extremely grateful to be a part of SouthernTech’s team and I look forward to meeting the community.”
Powell is finishing 33 years in Oklahoma Career and Technical Education and has made a great impact on the quality and number of offerings at SouthernTech. “People always want to give me credit for the expanded offerings and our increased professional approach to delivering training, but frankly, it is the professional staff we have at the school that deserves true credit,” said Powell. “I suppose I had high expectations of staff, but in the end, it was they who rose to the challenge and delivered.”
Powell is elated about leaving the school with the recent federal grant award to build an Aviation Maintenance training facility. “This had been on my front burner for many years, but funding was always an issue, now it will be a reality,” said Powell.
Dr. Ward is optimistic about the future of the school and the foundation that Dr. Powell has built. “I’ve admired the school from the first time I stepped foot on the campus,” stated Ward. “It is an extraordinary facility and I am honored to have the opportunity to be the next superintendent.
SouthernTech serves both secondary and postsecondary students from parts of 7 different counties in Southern Oklahoma. Students attending the school are enrolled in programs where they work to earn industry-based credentials that will lead to high skill, high wage, high demand careers.