Garland ISD Career, Tech Education director named tops in Texas

(Garland ISD) September 6, 2012 – Home to award-winning academics, fine arts, and athletics, Garland ISD is also home to award-winning administrators. Career and Technical Education Director Phil Gilbreath was recently named the Career and Technical Association of Texas Administrator of the Year.

A member of CTAT for 38 years, Gilbreath has long been an advocate for equipping students with the skills they need for college and future careers. He graduated from East Texas State University, now Texas A&M University-Commerce, in1967, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and industrial education.

Gilbreath began his career that same year as an industrial arts teacher in Garland ISD, and while the name of the field has changed to Career and Technical Education, he has remained a part of it ever since.

“I feel just as strongly now about Career and Technical Education as I did 45 years ago,” said Gilbreath. “I want to provide students with opportunities for success and to help them to make career choices as soon as possible.”

Transitioning from teaching into administration in 1974, Gilbreath worked as a consultant for the district’s first Director of Vocational Education, Clarence Reed. After Reed’s retirement in 1982, he took over the position and helped grow the department into what it is today.

“We offer CTE classes at all seven high schools, and there are also several options available for middle school students,” explained Gilbreath. “The program continues to grow and improve. Right now we’re building a new health science center at North Garland High School. We’re also doubling the cosmetology department at South Garland and adding new facilities for auto body, welding, and auto technology.”

Gilbreath believes the 2012-13 school year will be a good one for Garland ISD because of the state’s increased emphasis on college and career readiness. His department plans to continue operating under the same goals of preparing every student for the possibility of continuing their education in college and providing students with experiences that can translate into future careers.

While Gilbreath says his greatest reward comes from working with teachers, counselors, and administrators to design CTE programs and facilities that will meet the needs of students, the CTAT Administrator of the Year title is also a great honor.

“I know many people that do the same thing I do, and do it well. To be recognized by my peers is a wonderful feeling.”

Gilbreath was first announced as the Area 2 Administrator of the Year after his coworkers nominated him in the spring. He was named the overall Administrator of the Year for Texas during the CTAT conference in July.

“Dr. Gilbreath is most deserving of this honor,” said CTE Coordinator Barbara King. “He has a passion, not only for Career and Technical Education, but for education in general. Every day I continue to learn more from him about a discipline that is so important.”

Gilbreath will now advance to compete against other administrators throughout the U.S at the Region IV Association for Career and Technical Education Conference next spring.

Submitted by Tiffany Graber, Communications Specialist, Garland ISD.

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