Career Center chief Lynn Coale nets statewide leadership award

MIDDLEBURY — It would be an understatement to say that the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center (PHCC) has been through a sea of change since Director Lynn Coale took the helm eight years ago.
During that time, the PHCC has established a new $3.7 million “North Campus” building in Middlebury’s industrial park; expanded its course offerings and enrollment; and completed the transition to self-governance from having been previously managed by the UD-3 school board.
Coale received statewide recognition on Tuesday for his role in these and other accomplishments, when he was officially named “Vermont Technical Director of the Year” by the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA). Coale was one of seven Vermont educators to be honored by the VPA at its annual Leadership Academy Banquet in Killington.
“It kind of took me by surprise,” Coale said on Monday of the award. “I was incredibly humbled; I certainly wasn’t expecting it at all.”
Efforts to reach VPA Executive Director Ken Page were unsuccessful as the Addison Independent went to press. But a press release confirming Coale’s award included the following narrative:
“Through Lynn’s leadership, the Patricia A. Hannaford Regional Technical School District came into existence, and it passed its first budget, and its first bond issue to build the North Campus, all in a two-year span … At a time when school populations are declining, the enrollment of the Hannaford Career Center is growing due to his initiative to begin pre-tech programs, relevant technical programs and satellite programs, especially at Vergennes Union High School. Lynn has also brought in several grants to strengthen academic skills and performance of Hannaford. There is no doubt that Lynn has a passion for kids (and for adults) to be successful in life as a direct result of good career and technical education.”
While he said he feels honored to receive the VPA award, Coale stressed he must share the accolade with the many others with whom he has worked to improve the career center over the years. The PHCC provides technical and vocational education programs to students and adults in the Addison Northeast, Central and Northwest supervisory unions. The center features 13 full-time equivalent teaching positions and a similar number of other staff.
“It’s much more than what I do; it’s the efforts of all the faculty and staff,” Coale said.
“I am certainly proud we have made all of these transitions and that this is still a healthy organization,” he added. “And I would like to thank the community for all the support over the eight years I have been here.”
Coale is particularly proud of the fact that the PHCC gears its programs to all high school students (grades 9-12), and does not limit its outreach to juniors and seniors, as is the practice at many other career centers.
The center is also increasingly reaching out to adults, and Coale will be taking a more active role in that endeavor, along with presiding over day-to-day operations at the PHCC’s North Campus. That transition comes in wake of the recent hiring of new PHCC Assistant Director John Doherty, who Coale said will “take on a lot of the day-to-day operations at the main campus.”
Doherty’s hiring comes following the recent retirement of Nancy Slater Cobden, longtime assistant director and adult technical education coordinator.
Career center board members are pleased to see Coale pick up his statewide award.
“I think he is very deserving,” PHCC board Chairwoman Laura Adams said. “He is passionate about technical education and about educating young people.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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