CHARLESTON, W.Va. — She “retired” last Friday but now former Associate State School Superintendent Kathy D’Antoni isn’t going to stop doing what she loves.
D’Antoni is going to take what’s she’s been doing in career technical education the last few years and apply it to the rest of the public education system.
“We’re going to pull key people from across department (Department of Education) personnel to look out how we innovate and make education a better process for our students with better outcomes and to have student voice,” D’Antoni told MetroNews.
She said she’ll be like a contractor for the state but she doesn’t seemed too worried about those arrangements, she just wants to get started.
D’Antoni began working with technical education in 2010. She led the Simulated Workplace program in CTEs across the state where students form their own companies to complete various projects. They move from there into certification and then full-time employment. D’Antoni believes that kind of model can be used in other areas.
“So we’re trying to move that whole environment across the education spectrum so our students have every opportunity to be as successful as they are capable as being and reach their full potential,” she said.
Simulated Workforce program students have proved to have better attendance and less discipline problems than the general population. D’Atoni believes that’s because the program empowers students.
“We have an opportunity to set models up across the state for other schools to look at and see how I can change my school, change the way I deliver education, so that these students all become, they all get to their potential, not just the top 10 percent,” D’Antoni said.
D’Antoni began teaching when she was 19. She still remembers one of the first days on the job at an elementary school in Maryland. She said she was given unsolicited advice that she should be stern to her students or she would not be able to control the classroom. D’Antoni didn’t take the advice. Her goal has been to empower students, creating a buy-in.
“This is a passion that to my last breath that we have to respect our young people and allow them to develop. We just have to do it,” D’Antoni said.
“Dr. D’Antoni is one of the greatest champions for West Virginia’s children,”state Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch said last week. “Under her leadership, the state has renewed its focus on career technical and adult education, as she committed herself to educating tomorrow’s workforce. Kathy’s vision and dedication are inspiring, and I am proud to have served the children of West Virginia alongside her.”