Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera County Superintendent of Schools, Cecilia Massetti, center, administrators, staff, board members and local dignitaries join Steve Carney of Madera County Office of Education, as he cuts the ribbon for the new Steve Carney Career Technical Education Center.
The Madera County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Cecilia A. Massetti, the Madera County Board of Education, school district staff members and dignitaries participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 13 to celebrate Madera’s newest charter school, the Steve Carney Career Technical Education Center, at 28198 Avenue 14.
The school is Madera County’s third vocational trade school. It is named after an educator who helped build the county’s vocational education system, starting in 2001.
The idea of a vocational trade school came about in the fall of 2000 after a student leaving the Madera County Boot Camp program spoke with Dr. Sally L. Frazier (retired Superintendent of Schools) about his concerns in returning to Madera Unified. He felt a traditional school setting would not support his needs and as an individual planning not to attend college he wanted an alternative that would lead him to the world of work. Frazier began the process of looking for alternative options and in September 2001, she hired Steve Carney, who came with an extensive business background and at the time was working as the Assistant Superintendent of Business Services at Yosemite Union High School District.
The Career Technical Alternative Education Services (CTAES) program began in September of 2002, under the charter school name of Pioneer Technical Center. It began with just 26 students and was the first charter school in California to receive an Accrediting Commission for Schools Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC) accreditation in its first year of operation. By the end of the first year, Pioneer Technical Center had 56 students enrolled.
Three years later, a student who was just two months shy of graduating dropped out of school and spoke to Carney about his needs. Carney, along with a team of staff members, was able to convince this student to continue his education through an independent study program. This student was the first of many to attend the county’s second charter school called Madera County Independent Academy.
In 2007, Pioneer Technical Center was awarded the Golden Bell Award for Invigorating High Schools. Last year, Pioneer Technical Center ended the year with approximately 460 students. With the completion of the Steve Carney Career Technical Education Center, it is anticipated that the program will continue to expand course offerings to prepare students to be ready for the workforce or to continue their college educations.
The Career Center will be available to students attending Pioneer Technical Center and the Madera County Independent Academy.
Massetti said, “The Board of Education joins me in recognizing the vision, leadership, and can do spirit of Mr. Carney, who always looks out for what is best for our students, by naming the CTE building the Steve Carney Career Technical Education Center.”