EVIT superintendent named education leader of the year

EVIT superintendent named education leader of the year
Posted on 08/23/2022
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Dr. Chad Wilson, superintendent of the East Valley Institute of Technology, has been named an Education Leader of the Year in Public Policy by the Arizona Capitol Times. He is one of over 40 leaders who are being recognized for their contributions to the growth and quality of life in Arizona.

Wilson is being recognized in the Education category along with Stephanie Parra, executive director of All in Education, and Brian Mueller, president of Grand Canyon University.

“I am honored to be considered one of Arizona’s education leaders,” Wilson said. “I believe that education has the power to change lives.”

This year, Wilson helped with efforts to convince the state Legislature to allow Career Technical Education Districts (CTEDs) to offer associate degrees. Since EVIT, Arizona’s first CTED, was created over 30 years ago, the needs of Arizona industry have changed. Most jobs now require employees to have at least an associate degree. At the same time, education attainment levels in Arizona are low.

“The associate degree legislation will allow Arizona’s CTEDs to grow and evolve to better meet the needs of high school and adult students,” Wilson said. “This is a huge win for Arizona families because it will give them another option for obtaining higher education in a hands-on, relevant learning environment that has proven to be so beneficial for many students.”

EVIT is planning to offer its first associate degree program in the 2023-24 school year.

Wilson also helped lead efforts this year to convince lawmakers and Gov. Doug Ducey to include a $10 million allocation in the state budget to fund the construction of a residential center for foster youth at the EVIT Main Campus in Mesa. The residential center is part of a foster care initiative Wilson started at EVIT in the 2021-22 school year to help youth who are getting ready to transition out of foster care and into life on their own. The program allows them to enroll in one of EVIT’s career and technical education programs while they work toward completing their GED.

In addition, EVIT has partnered with Heritage Academy Charter School to open a high school at the EVIT Main Campus in the 2023-24 school year. Foster youth will be given preferential placement in the school.

“The residential center will provide foster youth with the structure, stability and support services they need to become independent adults,” Wilson said. “At EVIT, we strive to change lives by loving our students and serving our community. Our foster care program exemplifies that.”

Wilson was appointed EVIT superintendent in 2019. Under his leadership, EVIT successfully navigated the COVID-19 pandemic without having to shut down, and EVIT enrollment has grown to over 5,000 students. Wilson has been voted Best Education Leader twice by readers of the East Valley Tribune.

In 2022 surveys, 95% of students said they would recommend EVIT to a friend, and 98% of parents said they would recommend EVIT to other families.

The Arizona Capitol Times 2022 Leaders of the Year will be honored Sept. 27 at a luncheon at Phoenix Art Museum.