AFTON – After an almost 30-year hiatus from his hometown of Fairland, Dr. Curtis Shumaker has returned to his roots and joined the leadership team of Northeast Tech. Shumaker was hired as the campus director at the Afton Campus in July of this year, and the former ag teacher is excited to be back home for the holidays.

“I came home to be close to family, but I also received a hidden blessing in working with so many awesome teachers and staff at Northeast Tech. I love what I do and the people on this campus are a great group of dedicated professionals,” Shumaker said. “Every day I get to witness how hard they work to prepare their students for success in their careers and in life.”

One of the successful programs Shumaker is helping to expand is the Pre-Engineering Program. In this two-year academy students complete courses in advanced math, physics, and engineering.

“Since opening the program we’ve only accepted juniors and seniors, but I’m very excited to announce that we are expanding the program to include sophomores,” Shumaker said. “This change has been approved by our school board, and when we begin enrollment in the spring, we hope to see a number of sophomore applications from schools in our area.”

Far more than the typical lecture and bookwork delivery methods for instruction, students in the Pre-Engineering program are trained to take all they have learned and apply it to solving a real-life problem. This is especially true of the students’ final course, Engineering Design & Development (EDD).

“Students in Craig and Ottawa counties are able to take advanced courses in a hands-on learning environment, and they also gain the experience of working with local industries to solve real-world engineering problems,” Shumaker said. “Ours is the only Pre-Engineering program in the CareerTech system to utilize these types of industry partnerships.”

Building relationships with the local business and industry partners is a key element of Northeast Tech’s success in delivering career training, and as a Fairland native, Shumaker has a vested interest on both sides of the equation.

“Our students need job training, and our businesses need trained workers,” Shumaker said. “Given my experience in Career Tech and my ties to the community, I feel like this is a perfect fit, and I’m eager to make a positive impact.”

And Shumaker will have plenty of fans cheering him on in his efforts to strengthen the communities served by Northeast Tech.

“My parents have lived in Fairland since 1962, and I have brothers and sisters who both live and work in the area,” Shumaker said. “Dad is a cattle rancher and owns a barrel business in town, and my mother opened up Sue’s Resale shop before my sister bought it. My brother owns Cole Equipment Rental in Miami, another brother is a cattle rancher, and my youngest sister works at Sue’s Resale shop. It’s good to be home.”