Since 1994, the New Jersey Association of School Administrators has not chosen a vocational technical school administrator as the NJ Superintendent of the Year. But nearly 20 years later, Philip Guenther, superintendent of the Atlantic County Institute of Technology and mayor of Brigantine, was awarded the 2013 honor. Guenther told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he is honored to be recognized by the NJASA.
“I know how hard my colleagues work in the various school districts throughout New Jersey and it’s an honor to be recognized by such an esteemed group,” said Guenther.
Guenther said that the ACIT is very fortunate because it has the support of Atlantic County executives, the freeholder board and the Board of Education. Guenther attributes the school’s success to its growth — the school went from a shared time facility with an enrollment rate of 60 in 2001 to a 1,200-student operation.
Currently, ACIT offers programs that career and technical schools would offer, according to Guenther. With programs such as carpentry, auto-technology and medical assisting, students are involved for four years and are exposed to all aspects of a career area. The programs within ACIT prepare students for post-secondary college work and help them focus on a particular career area, Guenther said.
In order to spread awareness and ensure outreach, Guenther said that the school reaches out to all students throughout Atlantic County. ACIT also reaches out to parents and hosts open houses so parents can learn about the school.
Guenther also said that the school has the responsibility to provide for the needs of the county as well as the future of the state.
“We have students who are very interested in — whether it is carpentry or electricity, auto-technology — programs where they may be able to transition right into the world of work upon graduation from high school and then continue on and that is our goal; that our students become life-long learners, continue on and receive additional training in their career area because as we know technology is evolving each and every day and in all of the fields,” said Guenther. “Individuals who are working in those areas will have to continue to adopt new technology and be able to use that in the workplace.”