After serving as the director of Elmore County Technical Center for the past six years, Dr. Jimmy Hull resigned from the position and was confirmed at an Alabama State Department of Education board meeting as assistant state superintendent of career technical education and workforce development.
Hull said there are several things about the center and its people he is going to miss.
“The obvious thing are the relationship and people and what we built together,” he said. “We have been able to really make a difference for a lot of kids.”
Hull credits the faculty for a revitalized interest in career tech education.
“The faculty we have and the work they do with the students is what ultimately makes all the difference in the school,” Hull said.
In 2014 when Hull was hired, there were eight programs and around 350 students attending the tech center.
Today, around 800 students participate in the 12 tech center programs.
“When we came in we made some big changes, but everyone bought in,” he said. “(assistant principal) Emilie Johnson, (reboot administrator) Tarica Lamar, (school counselor) Jared Sellers and (career coach) Lindsay Jordan helped with everything from starting awards programs to our year-end awards banquet to social media presence we created.
All the rebranding and changing the schedule we worked on would have not worked without the teachers there.”
Hull said he is going to miss seeing through the center’s new facilities being built.
“We’d finally got to a point with our new building to get started,” he said. “I am a little sad to leave within a month of breaking ground. I plan to pop in when I can and be there for the ribbon cutting to see the fruits of our labor.”
In Hull’s new position, he will still influence the state of technical and career education on the state level.
Hull said his new position has several responsibilities tied to it.
“First, it is about working with other people in the state department and local career tech programs to ensure we provide best possible career tech programs in the state of Alabama,” he said.
Beyond the focus of working with the state and county educational systems, Hull said it is about building relationships and finding out the needs of employers in the state.
“Part of our role is building future workforce through career tech education in K-12,” he said. “So, to do that we have to know what the needs are (of employers) and dig deeper and have those relationships with the Alabama Workforce Council and Department of Commerce and economic development agencies across the state.”
Hull said although the perception of career tech education has changed in the past five to 10 years, there is more work to be done.
“We do not want to lose that momentum,” he said. “Where we can enhance career tech education is in work-based learning. We can define a better and substantive work-based learning. It’s more looking at where students can go to work in paid internships.”
Hull also wants to shine a brighter light on the state’s two-year college system for high school students.
“I want to work hard and partner with our two-year college systems,” he said. “I think those are huge and to open the eyes of all students coming through the public school system. There are many opportunities that the two-year system offers — short certificates and associate’s degrees that will get people wonderful, high-paying jobs all over the state.
Hull graduated from Holtville in 1993 and started teaching there in 1998.
From there, he served as assistant principal of Holtville Middle School from 2002 to 2004 and as principal of Holtville High from 2004 to 2014.