‘A high-level, more rigorous and relevant experience’

By Mike Lewis
M. Cody Pine, a former engineer, is supervisor of career and technology education and enrichment for the Washington County Public Schools. On a break in the morning, he reaches for coffee. He’ll go for coffee and water in the afternoon, depending on the activities.

M. Cody Pine, supervisor of career and technology education and enrichment, Washington County Public Schools

By Mike Lewis
mlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com

M. Cody Pine said he spends a lot of time listening to business leaders, teachers and students to “move career and technology education into the 21st century.”

Coffee Break

As proof, he points to the evolving curriculum at Washington County (Md.) Public Schools as well as two new programs, one in applied manufacturing engineering and the other in artificial intelligence and cloud computing engineering.

Pine, 41, is supervisor of career and technology education and enrichment for WCPS. To get there, he’s done a bit of evolving himself.

He grew up in rural Mercersburg, Pa. His grandparents farmed, and his parents now own the property.

“I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life” after high school, he said.

But he knew he liked farming and being outdoors, and he was good at math and science. He graduated from Penn State University with a degree in mechanical engineering and took a job as an engineer.

“While I liked it, I felt a void,” he said.

He spoke with some relatives who were teachers. He wound up going back to school, while keeping his engineering job, to earn a teaching certificate from Shippensburg University. He then taught agriculture at Smithsburg and Clear Spring schools in Washington County, Md., before moving into administration.

Pine, who also has received a master’s in education leadership from Ship, is enrolled in the university’s doctoral program in education leadership.

On a break, do you reach for coffee, tea, soda, water … ?

Coffee in the morning, water and coffee in the afternoon. The amount of coffee depends on the afternoon activities.

An average day for you includes … ?

Every day in CTE is different. It’s a constant flow of developing and maintaining relationships with teaching staff, business partners and local and state government agencies, as well as participating in a number of community and business committees. My responsibilities include strategically planning programs to increase access for students and maximizing available resources. I have to ensure that the CTE curriculum is rigorous and relevant and will lead to value-added education for all students. I work closely with my staff to write and report on grants, provide professional development for teachers, vet curriculum and explore opportunities to create more value-added opportunities for students.

What do the two new programs offer students and employers?

The two new programs will offer cutting-edge technologies in applied manufacturing engineering and artificial intelligence and cloud computing. The AI/Cloud Computing Program will teach students how to create cloud-based solutions, along with cybersecurity, to protect accounts. This program will also allow students to gain certification in artificial intelligence through the use of cloud-based information transfer. The Applied Manufacturing Engineer Program will educate the students on manufacturing processes, quality control, automated manufacturing, robotics and industry 4.0 systems troubleshooting. This program will be aligned to the needs of local and regional manufacturing companies.

Both programs have been vetted through their respective program advisory committees and curriculum has been written to meet the need and create a work-ready community. Students exiting these programs will have the opportunity to earn high level, real life, relevancy certifications in both of these respective areas. They will also have the opportunity to accrue college credits and stackable credentials.

What do you wish more people knew about Career and Technology Education in general?

Career Technology Education has evolved over the years to offer students a high-level, more rigorous and relevant experience in their career cluster area. All of our CTE programs offer students a value-added education through industry certification, dual transcripted credits, articulated college credits or a combination of the three. In today’s current labor market, there is a shortage of skilled labor. Over the next several years, this shortage will increase even more and will require a huge demand for people with a high-level technical skillset. CTE careers offer comfortable family wages with little to no post-secondary debt from additional training depending on the career cluster. Other CTE programs can lead directly into post-secondary education for an in-depth further advancement of that skillset.

Outside of work, what are your ambitions and aspirations?

Outside of WCPS, I enjoy family time and working outdoors. I’m involved in several community organizations and am part of Leadership Washington County Class No. 33. Through experiences in LWC, I am going to aspire to become more involved in the Washington County community through volunteering and participation in nonprofit organizations.