History of Charlotte Technical College
In 1978, Charlotte County had a total student population of around 3500 students. Charlotte High School was the only county high school. Students, upon graduation, were forced to go elsewhere to pursue vocational training. James Lawless, the presiding superintendent, and the school board, had a vision. They saw the need to build a vocational school. Through that vision grew the notion to provide a school to learn the necessary skills to embark on a trade to the county’s growing adult population. Thus the germination of the seed to build Charlotte Vo-Tech was planted.
PHASE 1 – 1980
Charlotte Vo-Tech opened its doors for the first time in the fall of 1980 with Mr. Tom Wagoner as the first Director. An ad appearing in the Ft. Myers News-Press in May of 1980 touted the following programs to be offered in the inaugural year: Automotive Mechanic, Carpenter, Cabinetmaker, Nurse Aide, Cosmetologist, Practical Nurse, Bookkeeper, Clerk-typist, Medical Secretary, Data Processing, Electrician, Mason, Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts, and Data Processing , to name a few. The ad went on to say, “Enrollment in the Vocational-Technical Center is open to all adults, veterans, high school drop-outs and high school students over the age of 16 with a desire to obtain occupational skills necessary for employment.”
PHASE 2 – 1983
The $3.5 million dollar, 10 building complex was built through appropriations from the state legislature. It was four years in the making from concept, design and construction. The school opened with 25 full-time instructors and 50 part-time staff. The target student audience was adults. A bumper sticker of the day summarized the school’s philosophy:
“Learn Today – Earn Tomorrow.”
In 1982, Port Charlotte High School opened its doors followed by Lemon Bay High school in 1983. In the 2001 school year, Charlotte Vocational Technical Center officially changed its name to Charlotte Technical Center and high school students became part of the student population at CTC. A dual enrollment program was started, allowing students from the three area high schools to participate in programs offered at CTC. Currently, nearly 500 high school students are enrolled in programs offered during the day.
PHASE 3 – 1993
The following individuals served as Director of Charlotte Technical Center since 1980: Tom Wagoner, Roseann Samson, Judy Willis, Barbara Witte, Karyn Gary, Barney Duffy and our current Director, DeeLynn Bennett.
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