Skillbuilders set to retire

first_img Laughter echoed from the stand of evergreen trees behind the Clark County Skills Center early Thursday morning as staff members stood in a circle playing team-building games led by Paul Haack, the outdoor challenge course instructor. Standing in the circle and laughing along with his staff was Dennis Kampe, director of the Skills Center.Both men are retiring this year. Kampe, 67, who has led the school for 22 years, has been an administrator at the school since its inception 30 years ago. He’ll retire Aug. 31 from the school that provides technical and professional training to prepare high school students for the workforce. Among the programs are construction technology, dental assisting, fire science and restaurant management. The school also has a dental clinic and a restaurant.This year, student enrollment is 1,000. Next fall, enrollment is expected to grow by 100 students. Some programs have a waiting list. At a time when the economy is still bouncing back from the recession, the practical programs offered by the Skills Center make sense.“They’re all professionals from their industries,” Kampe said about his staff. “They came here to teach what they love.”Like his staff, Kampe’s work life began not as a teacher but in a machine shop. Later he taught in the machine shop at Clark College.Under his direction, the Skills Center has received multiple national awards, including being named among the top three technical high schools in the nation by BusinessWeek magazine. Clark County Skills Center staff members throw Paul Haack, center, a retirement breakfast at the school Thursday morning. Haack is the outdoor challenge course instructor at the Skills Center.last_img

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