Innovating Education: Lively Tech’s Role in Shaping Tallahassee’s Workforce Landscape
Serving as the Director of Lively Technical College feels like coming full circle, taking me back to the very reasons I chose a career path in education. Growing up in a small community just north of Tampa called Shady Hills—much like Tallahassee but with no colleges or state government, I recognized the importance of knowing where the jobs were. People tended to work for the school district, the hospital, or in construction. My grandmother was a cafeteria cook, and my dad built pool enclosures. I saw from a young age the value of knowing how to do something that others didn’t. From my grandmother’s culinary skills to my father’s expertise in construction, I saw firsthand the value of specialized training—something Lively Tech offers in abundance.
I came to Tallahassee to attend FSU and earn a degree in education. I had plans to move back to my hometown, but then I met and eventually married a Tallahassee native. He had no plans to leave Tallahassee, so twenty-plus years later, I am still calling Tallahassee home and raising two more Tallahassee natives. I recognized that this town had everything I wanted in a home. It has a variety of businesses that offer services that make my life easier and better, a variety of educational options for my kids, and a college football team to cheer for on Saturdays. The perfect recipe for a hometown! Looking from the LTC Director’s perspective, I recognize so clearly how Lively is an engine for Tallahassee’s growth and quality of life!
As a four-college town – FSU, FAMU, TCC, and LTC—education is foundational to what Tallahassee is as a city. While I loved going to school every day because it prepared me to become a teacher one day, the same was not true for my brother. He was the kid who, after receiving a remote-controlled car as a present, would take it apart (much to our parent’s dismay) and reassemble it to outperform any other toy car on the block. He needed a Lively Technical College because the traditional classroom did not allow him to show his talents. We are so lucky our community has options for high school graduates and adults who need to upskill. But even more importantly, a school like Lively is the exact thing that companies look for when deciding whether to open in Tallahassee. Lively is who company leaders call when they have an open job. Lively is the second oldest educational institution in Tallahassee, and this matters to all of us because it empowers us as a community.
I have been asked countless times if I like working at Lively Technical College, and I reply that I love working there. I love working at LTC because I recognize daily how I get to give back to a community I love.