Washtenaw ISD’s New Director to transform Career and Technical Education


Ryan Rowe. photo courtesy of the WISD

From the WISD:

The Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) welcomes Dr. Ryan Rowe to its leadership as the district’s new Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director. In this role, Rowe will be responsible for bringing strategic visioning and leadership to career development and through the county’s efforts to provide high-quality CTE education programs, with a focus on equitable, inclusive access for all students.

“I am excited to work with our community to expand cutting edge CTE experiences to every student in our community from preschool through high school,” expressed Dr. Ryan Rowe. “I firmly believe CTE enriches every student’s learning experience by exposing them to the skills and technologies of tomorrow.” Rowe previously served as the Executive Director of the South and West Washtenaw Consortium for CTE. He also has experience as a CTE teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent in Washtenaw and Lenawee counties.

The nine public school districts and Washtenaw ISD identified a gap in CTE opportunities and developed Rowe’s new position together. Each district is committed to a shared goal of improving equity and access to CTE and contributed to the position’s development. In most Michigan counties, CTE offerings are available to all students across the entire county. However, access to CTE opportunities in Washtenaw County depends on which school district a student attends. For example, while Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti or Whitmore Lake students have access to their own CTE programs, they cannot attend a program at the South and West Washtenaw Consortium.

“Washtenaw County has a tremendous opportunity to expose more students to exciting, hands-on, innovative learning experiences. One of the best ways we can do that is by expanding access to career and technical education in partnership with higher education and local businesses,” shared WISD Superintendent Naomi Norman.

In alignment with the vision of the Michigan Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education and local workforce needs, Norman is eager to partner with local businesses to shape career-ready practices and rigorous academic and technical standards so students will be successful beyond graduation. She continues, “We have incredible business and industry leaders in our community. Dr. Rowe will be responsible for strengthening the relationships our schools already have with them and forging new partnerships.”

Rowe will spend his first month prioritizing meeting with business, industry and higher education leaders across Washtenaw County. With the goal of ultimately connecting and aligning opportunities from PreK-12th grade, he envisions students trying different experiences through career exploration activities, apprenticeships, internships and externships. Rowe continues, “I hope every student in Washtenaw County graduates high school knowing what excites them, how different careers can fuel that excitement, and how they can create a plan for their own success.”

Education, business and industry leaders interested in learning more about the future of Career and Technical Education in Washtenaw County may contact Dr. Rowe at rrowe@washisd.net.

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