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Tuesday was Brandon Bardin's first official day as the new principal at the Marion County Area Technology Center.
Bardin, a Columbia native, has spent the last 12 years being a welding instructor at the Green County Area Technology Center. But, he said he wanted to help students and staff from a different perspective, which is why he applied for the MCATC principal position after Tony Webb, who was hired in September of last year, resigned to become the principal at the Harrodsburg Area Technology Center.
He believes his real world experience will help him be an effective leader for the school.
"I know the industries are looking for a certain type of student to fill certain positions. I come from those positions," Bardin said. "I know what they want. I've been there."
Bardin started his welding career straight out of high school when he was 18 years old. He worked in various management and supervisor roles prior to teaching including overseeing various jobs on construction projects and being a team leader at several industries. While working, Bardin also earned his bachelors degree at Western Kentucky University and his masters degree at Eastern Kentucky University. He knew teaching was always something he aspired to do.
"My dad was a counselor, transportation director and basketball coach, so I always knew I wanted to be a teacher," Bardin said.
He began his teaching career in 1997, at Ohio County's Area Technology Center, where he taught for two years. During his time there, he was a "New Teacher of the Year" state finalist. In 1999, he went on to become the welding technology instructor for Green County's Area Technology Center. He's been in that position since March of 1999. As the welding instructor at Green County's ATC, he has won several awards, including first, second and third place awards in the Skills USA regional welding competition. But, according to Bardin, his best accomplishments so far is marrying his wife, Allison, 10 years ago this October, and having their son, Kaden, who is 7 years old and in the second grade.
Bardin said he's very aware of the positive changes that have taken place at the MCATC, not only aesthetically, but also in regards to the curriculum. In August, the WorkKeys assessment results were released, which shows how tech centers are doing in terms of preparing their students for the workplace. According to those results, the MCATC is ranked fifth among the states 53 tech centers.
Bardin said he's looking forward to helping the school continue to move forward.
"Everything I understand about the school is that it has revamped its image... and it has a very positive image," he said. "I hope to improve on that."