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Q & A with Middle States Commissioner James Kraft, Ed.D., Executive Director, Berks Career & Technology Center

By September 20, 2017December 18th, 2021No Comments
Dr. Kraft talks about how Middle States accreditation offers more than eligibility for Title IV funding and the important role of educators. He also reveals what’s on his playlist right now and what was on his summer booklist.
Q. Why did you choose a career in education?
A. Both my parents were educators, and I entered college determined to not follow in their footsteps so I began college as a business major. I sold Christmas trees for my high school wood shop teacher in high school and college. When I came home over my freshman year break my former teacher pulled me aside and said he always saw me as a natural teacher. That was it. I changed my major to teaching Industrial Arts, now called Technology Education. I found my niche and never looked back.
Q. How long have you been involved with Middle States and why?
A. I have always associated high performing institutions with Middle States accreditation. However, it was not until I landed my present position as Executive Director at the Berks Career and Technology Center (BCTC) near Reading, Pa. that I came to understand the value of the accreditation process. We have embraced data collection and the need to use various assessment tools to assist us towards continuous improvement. It has become part of the culture of our work environment. Middle States affirms our commitment to growth and does so in a highly effective process. Since BCTC serves both high school students and adults, Middle States accreditation assures our students are receiving a high quality education. The results prove this fact.
Q. What do you see as one of the main benefits of Middle States accreditation, especially for CTE schools?
A. The first response most will hear is the ability to offer Title IV funding or financial aid to adult students. While this is true, in actuality, I value the continuous improvement process with reaffirmation that we are delivering a high-quality education as the biggest benefit for CTE schools.
Q. Who inspires you and why?
A. Our teachers and students inspire me on a daily basis. In a technical school, daily I observe the instructional process in 38 different technical programs. I see students apply what they learn, and I see how much they enjoy being in school. Often, I pause to take it all in and witness the next generation of the future workforce and realize the important role we play as educators.
Q. What books are on your nightstand right now?
A. I enjoy history, especially reading about people and situations that changed the world. I read several Bill O’Reilly books over the summer and have his latest on my “to read” list. His Killing Lincoln, Truman and Reagan books are intriguing works about American history.
Q. What songs are on your current playlist?
A. I like to listen to a variety of music genres. Currently, I am listening to Kenny Chesney’s station on Satellite radio. I like listening to classic rock, country, jazz and even classical music.

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