- Cleburne Independent School District
Career and Technical Director Mark McClure Nominated for CTAT Administrator of Year
Cleburne High School Career and Technical Education Director Mark McClure is among the candidates for Career and Technical Association of Texas Administrator of the Year as the nominee for Area II.
McClure is in his fourth year as administrator of the CTE program at CHS, which involves more than 95 percent of the student body. As a nominee for the CTAT state recognition, he represents Education Service Center Regions 10 and 11. The Administrator of the Year Award annually recognizes a CTAT member who has contributed to the success of CTE through the quality of their work and their involvement in the CTE community.
Health sciences teacher Robin Gosdin, who is over the Certified Nurse Aide program at CHS, says McClure more than meets the award criteria.
“Mark is an ideal CTE director,” Gosdin said. “He does not rely on his title. He has worked tirelessly with area businesses to bring new CTE programs to Cleburne High School. He has worked diligently the past three years during the construction project at CHS which has included the Career Center and additional CTE classrooms and labs.”
“I feel he is a person of great integrity,” Gosdin said. “He is friendly and approachable and has a great sense of humor. He appreciates his CTE teachers and easily gives recognition publicly. He is a great team leader. He makes those of us in the classroom want to deliver our best efforts in our work with CTE students to help them excel.”
McClure literally grew up in education with his parents, Barney and Debbie McClure, serving on the CISD staff. He was among his father’s high school agriculture science students and FFA members. But it wasn’t until his sophomore year at Tarleton State University that he felt the call to become an educator.
“I love cars and envisioned owning an automotive shop,” he said. “While I was in college I worked at a local garage any chance I had—summer, spring break. I soon realized it was pretty tough work and decided that I needed to turn my passion for cars into a hobby rather than a career.”
Working periodically as a substitute teacher, he was able to test the water to determine which grade level might work best in his new plan to become an educator.
“I first subbed in elementary schools,” he said. “I knew quickly there was no way I could be an elementary teacher. After working with middle school students, I knew there was no way I could do that, either. Then I subbed at the high school and I could see myself in the classroom. That career track developed then and I knew ag science would be my path. I was already taking ag classes at Tarleton and I wanted to continue that direction.”
After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in 2001, McClure began teaching in Waxahachie ISD. In 2007, he came to Cleburne, where he taught with his father in the ag program at CHS. They were fellow faculty members for four years until Barney retired in 2011.
“We came to a gentlemen’s agreement to work as colleagues,” he said. “We weren’t father and son at school, but two fellow teachers. Then we would work together on cars on the weekend.”
In 2012, McClure was named an assistant principal at CHS. In May of 2016, he accepted the position of director of CTE.
“I love the classroom and teaching,” he said. “But my ultimate goal is to be a school superintendent so the opportunity to work as an assistant principal and now a director, have been natural next steps—and I love what I do. I feel I have the best job in the district.”
“The CTE program is a piece of the education puzzle,” McClure said. “Every kid is an important piece of that puzzle, who needs to be put in the right spot. In CTE, we touch 96 percent of the students at CHS and we want to get them in the area they are interested in, whether they are college bound, headed into a career or the military. I want the kids who leave CHS to be better prepared than those from high schools anywhere else. There is so much opportunity at our high school, so many areas to get students engaged and plugged in.”
In his four years at the helm of CTE, McClure has seen a lot of projects—and goals—move from the “to do” list to a lengthy list of accomplishments and points of pride. He places the passage of Bond 2016, which included the construction of the new high school and renovation of the former main building, at the top.
“The bond project is something I’m very proud to have been a part of,” McClure said. “As a citizen, I walked the neighborhoods to tell people about the bond and the impact it would have on career and technical education. It’s been an honor to have been a part of the process following the bond election, including the design and planning of the new school and the renovation of the Career Center and the former science wing which is now the CTE wing. It’s going to be very exciting when the renovated building is complete and we open those additional CTE facilities to students. As of late, I’ve enjoyed showing off what we have when people visit the high school. We have tours all the time and I think that gives us the opportunity to show we did it right.”
He’s also enjoyed the opportunity to work with company and corporation leaders who have aligned with the CTE program at CHS, leading to the development of internships for students.
“We’ve been able to involve some big name partners,” he said. “HOLT Caterpillar, John Deere and we also work with several colleges including MIT. We are working continually to find and develop new cutting edge programs that would be hot in the job market. That includes our latest initiatives—the dental assistant and drone programs.”
On the horizon—coming in August 2020—will be a diesel technician program for Cleburne students through a partnership with HOLT Caterpillar and RDO John Deere. Students will enter the program as freshmen and as juniors and seniors will participate in a two-year paid internship. After four years of study in diesel tech, they will be offered immediate employment upon graduation in a high skill wage area.
McClure also includes work and collaboration with his staff in what he has strived to accomplish as director of CTE.
“I have been able to hire really good teachers who do a great job in the classroom and managing their programs,” he said. “Without them, we don’t have anything. I’ve got an awesome group of people I get to work with every day. You can have all the money and the best facilities and equipment, but if you don’t have the right teacher in the room, you won’t have success.”
What has been achieved in the Cleburne CTE program, and at the campus, has much to do with McClure’s leadership and relationship with teachers and students alike according to Principal Ben Renner.
“Mark McClure is a visionary leader who is making a real difference in the lives of students,” Renner said. “His commitment to providing Cleburne students with real world opportunities is changing lives. I am proud to know him, and even prouder to work with him.”
As a native of Cleburne and a 1997 graduate of CHS, McClure feels strongly about giving his best to a community that gave him his start, and where he is now raising his own family. His wife, Sarah, is a teacher in the district and their three children are CISD students.
“I was away from Cleburne for 12 years—then came back,” he said. “I’m proud to be back and grateful to have been a part of all that has happened at the high school, and now the opportunity to maintain what we have while continuing to develop for the future. You don’t want to let your community down—you want things to be top notch and the best—because it’s your hometown and you want to give it your best.”
In February, McClure and his fellow Administrator of the Year nominees will go before a panel as participants in the interview process to determine who will be named CTAT Administrator of the Year—and represent Texas in the national awards process through the Association for Career and Technical Education.
McClure is also a member of the Johnson County Livestock and Agriculture Association, serving as president, and is treasurer of Career and Technical Educators of North Texas.