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State director says he likes the look of Lenape

| Friday, April 19, 2002

MANOR - State Vocational and Technical Education Director John Foster sees a lot of positives at Lenape Area Vocational-Technical School.

"This is the first time I've been out here," he said. "Lenape is a real good examples of a school that is doing the right things."

Foster spent yesterday morning touring the school, which is one of the few technical schools in the state that offers a full-day education.

Foster, who used to teach carpentry at a technical school before eventually becoming an administrator, said he likes touring the schools throughout the state to get back into the buildings.

"It's one of those situations where you feel you have a real bond with the directors in the field," Foster said.

Lenape Director Dawn Kocher-Taylor said Foster's background gives a feeling of accessibility and is beneficial for school administrators.

"I think that does make a big difference," she said.

Most of Foster's morning was spent going through Lenape's different technical shops - from precision machining to auto repair to advertising to medical technology.

Foster even had lunch prepared by Lenape's culinary students.

He planned to tour Northern Westmoreland Career and Technical Center in the afternoon.

Perhaps the thing that impressed Foster the most, he said, was the enthusiasm displayed by the teachers and students at the school, as they explained various items about their specialities to him yesterday.

"Teachers are always interested in pulling you in, they're proud of their programs," he said. "(The students) too are proud of what they do."

Their enthusiasm "says a lot of positive things about the school," he added.

As he toured the school, Foster said he was collecting ideas on how planned pilot programs and new initiatives might fit into Lenape.

"This school is well-suited for a lot of innovative ideas," he said.

Foster declined to comment on the current controversy surrounding Lenape - the possibility that disagreement over a planned $11 million renovation at the school might change the organizational structure at the school - saying he didn't have enough information about it.

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