Andalusia native named South Carolina admin of year

Published 1:39 am Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Andalusia native Arthur Northrop, who is administrator of the Strom Thurmond Career and Technology Center (STCTC) in Edgefield County, S.C., has been named that state’s career and technical education administrator of the year.

0720-edu-northropNorthrop has served for three years as director of STCTC and has expanded the school’s well-established tradition of excellence as one of the top centers in the state.

He is a 1979 graduate of Andalusia High School and the son of Shirley Northrop

His leadership is very timely because the county, state, and nation are currently in an unprecedented transformation in how it prepares students for the workforce and citizenship. Currently the greatest demand in the workforce, according to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, is for mid-skill jobs that require more than a high school diploma but do not always require a four-year degree. There is a large gap between the number of available mid-skill jobs, which pay in the range of $30,000-$80,000 a year, and the number of prospective employees that have the skill required to fill the vacancies. This dynamic has created a void that only career and technology education can fill.

Northrop has a wide range of professional experiences including teaching middle school social studies, directing the alternative program, and serving as a CTE administrator. Each of these experiences have uniquely prepared him for the important task at hand. Northrop stated “I love to innovate. I thrive on thinking outside the box to solve challenging problems.” This capability has led him and his staff to design many state-of-the-art programs that provide excellent opportunities for students. One example is the automotive technology apprenticeship program that includes students working with local dealerships. This connection between a student’s academic training and authentic, practical working experiences has been touted as a model for South Carolina.

A critical aspect of transforming an innovative thought into a viable program that has value for all stakeholders is the ability to effectively communicate and collaborate. This is a strong suit for Northrop. He is continuously working to organize major events, form partnerships with businesses, partner with technical college programs, design publications, develop informational videos, and write news releases to keep the community informed. Many of the programs that he and his staff have designed actively involved students in community service projects. This helps students acquire citizenship skills such as initiative, self-direction, work ethic, and the ability to think critically and creatively. For businesses and industry in today’s economy these skills are of greater value than content knowledge.

Northrop has increased participation in his school advisory committees and averaged more than 100 press releases a year for the past three years. Through his initiative and excellent writing skills he has received more than 1 million dollars in federal and state grant funds that are being used to serve the students of the Edgefield County School District.