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Cleburne ISD Career and Technical Education Director Mark McClure was virtually honored this week in being named the Career and Technical Association of Texas Administrator of the Year.

McClure, who was named the Area II nominee for the award in December, was celebrated by members from across the state in conjunction with the annual CTAT Summer Conference, originally scheduled for Fort Worth. The conference was moved to Zoom in response to health and safety concerns relating to COVID-19.

He will now represent Texas and continue in the Administrator of the Year competition at the national level through the Association for Career and Technical Education as a contestant in Region 4, which includes state honorees from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

McClure insists the award is all about his teachers, staff and CISD, rather than himself.

“This award reflects a group effort,” McClure said. “It’s all about our CTE teachers and what they do for kids. I admit I was kind of surprised with the news. I was going up against some big districts in the state and programs that are top notch. I’m happy our program is viewed as top notch as well. 

“It’s easy to look good when you are working together and putting in a lot of hard work — together,” he said. “That includes our CTE students and teachers, along with our district administrators, trustees and the community, who are very supportive of our program and what we are doing for kids.”

McClure is beginning his fifth year as administrator of the CTE program at CHS, which involves more than 95 percent of the student body. The state recognition sets the tone for what will be an exciting program year as for the first time, students will have access to additional learning spaces and labs in the high school’s former main building which has been transformed into a CTE/Fine Arts facility. 

Culinary Arts students will be among those learning in new, spacious and industry-standard cooking labs. Third- and fourth-year culinary students will be operating an on-site restaurant planned to open to the community in the second semester of the school year. 

A diesel technician program, which has been a year in the works through a partnership with HOLT Caterpillar and RDO John Deere, will be up and running with the start of school. Cleburne will also be receiving a portion of a $925,000 CTE Carl Perkins Grant for the North Central Texas Aerial Robotics initiative which will be used to expand learning opportunities for CHS engineering students. The grant will also provide adding training in search and rescue within the law enforcement module.

“We were so proud when Mark was chosen to represent Area II in the selection for CTAT Administrator of the Year,” Superintendent Kyle Heath said. “Now we are proud all over again to see him receive the award and advance in the recognition process.

“His passion for CTE, his dedication to our current programs and his vision in searching for new learning opportunities for our students make him so worthy of this honor. Under his guidance and leadership, Cleburne is quickly gaining recognition as having one of the top high school CTE programs in the state. There’s a lot of teamwork, commitment and hard work behind that, with Mark leading the way.”

Mark Bosher, CTAT director of Technical Assistance and Training, points to McClure’s “lifetime” in CTE, which developed into a passion, coupled with his dedication and skills as a school and program administrator, as major factors in being chosen 2020-21 Administrator of the Year.

“Mark McClure represents a lifetime of CTE experiences, as the son of a CTE Agriculture Science teacher who spent his time after school watching FFA teams train for contest, then went on to achieve in high school and college as an ag science and CTE student. He built on those early experiences in his service as an ag science teacher in Waxahachie and Cleburne.

“When Mark was named Cleburne’s director of CTE, he brought the skills relating to teacher support, student management and the importance of proper facilities in an educational program he learned during his tenure as an assistant principal at Cleburne High School. 

“From his first day as director, he hit the ground running and has never stopped. By removing barriers, restructuring career pathways and expanding program offerings, the CTE program in Cleburne increased by 20 percent. Mark has quickly become a leader among CTE administrators.”

Bosher said the same dedication and hard work McClure gives to Cleburne CTE is reflected in his service as a member of the Career and Technical Educators of North Texas. He serves as an officer and a board member. As chairman of the CTENT scholarship committee, his leadership has resulted in an auction which has raises more than $3,000 annually for area CTE students.

In addition to his role of honoree at the CTAT Summer Conference, McClure was also a session presenter with Cleburne CTE teacher Dawn Goains. Health Science/Certified Nurse Aide teacher Robin Gosdin and Tracy Shea, director of Remote Learning, were also conference presenters.

“This was a huge undertaking in switching from a live conference to virtual,” McClure said. “In some cases it was harder than in-person. Meeting in a live setting with people is best — and much more personal. But we made it work, just like we did when our district spun on a dime to provide distance learning to our students last spring.”

For McClure, receiving his award in a live setting would have been better than the virtual experience — as long as the entire Cleburne CTE team was on stage with him to be honored. 

“Everything we accomplish for kids in CTE has been a group effort,” he said. “I’m very excited to see Cleburne recognized on the state and national levels for what we have going here.”

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