SOUTH BEND - South Bend School District has added another asset to its teaching staff with the addition of Tim Bale as a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher for the 2023-24 school year. Bale was hired by the South Bend School Board of Directors at the regular meeting last Thursday.
Bale comes to South Bend with extensive experience in a variety of industries and will join CTE teachers Aaron Blevins and Joel Bale, both teaching for South Bend.
"Mr. Bale brings expertise in civil engineering, welding, metal fabrication, computer-aided design (CAD), and various construction experience - all skills valuable in helping to prepare students with the skills needed to pursue the industry workforce or post-secondary training," SBSD Superintendent Dr. Jon Tienhaara told the Herald.
"We're thrilled to have Mr. Bale join our teaching team," Tienhaara said. "His skills and experience will be instrumental in achieving our vision for the CTE program, ultimately providing our students with robust learning opportunities that directly translate to real-world applications."
Dr. Tienhaara believes in hiring a wide range of quality opportunities for his students.
"Personally, I see our CTE programs as a critical pathway for students," Tienhhara said. "For too long the public education system as a whole has seemingly emphasized the 'university' path as the gold standard. We need to rethink what has been traditional education and develop quality vocational programs that work alongside the university path, with the goal of developing all student interests and abilities."
Dr. Tienhaara said he believes South Bend seeks to develop a unique instructional approach that includes the integration of a business model allowing students to produce goods for sale to the public.
"The eventual goal is that our students will design, make, and market products such as custom fire pits, outdoor furniture, custom signs, and other products that align with our vocational instruction," Tienhaara said. "This hands-on learning strategy reinforces technical skills while encouraging entrepreneurship and the development of marketable products. We have the equipment, now we need to put everything together."
Dr. Tienhaara pointed out that his school district staff led by Principal Jason Nelson are currently working on developing curricula and projects, and will be working on potential expansion efforts as the program evolves. Tienhaara met with new Grays Harbor College President Carli Schiffner early last week to discuss future partnerships.
"Our school board agrees on the significance of providing meaningful, hands-on vocational skills that can be transferred to post-secondary vocational schools or career pathways," Tienhaara said. "We have had a productive relationship with Grays Harbor College in the past and we are looking at reestablishing and expanding our partnership. Dr. Schiffner is very interested in our programs and I think we have the potential to build some even greater programs for kids."
Dr. Tienhaara welcomes more new developments to SBSD after what he terms a "restart" after COVID.
"Now that COVID is completely behind us, we can restart where we left off in developing our hands-on programs," Tienhaara said, "The addition of Mr. Bale to our staff, along with our other CTE teachers, provides a lot of opportunity for us to build upon. I look forward to everything that's to come for our students."