Meet Our New Director
Meet Our New Director
RTCC Welcomes New Director
This article was written by Herald reporter Zoe Newmarco, and appears here courtesy of The Herald, May 14, 2020
Randolph born-and-raised, Felicia Allard has landed her dream job of being the new director for Randolph Technical Career Center.
Allard will be taking the place of Jason Gingold, who has been director at RTCC for five years. Gingold, who will step down at the end of the school year, is taking the director position at Burlington Technical Center.
Chosen unanimously as the sole finalist candidate for the position by a committee of RTCC student, staff, and administrators from both RTCC and Randolph Union High School, Allard will officially take the helm on July 1.
Although that’s a month and a half away, Allard is already meeting with staff remotely, in advance of the official start of her contract—and she added that she’s looking forward to getting to spend time with staff and students in person, as soon as possible.
Allard said that she expects increasing enrollment to be the biggest challenge in the coming months. During a recent RTCC board meeting, Gingold noted that enrollment in several programs has dropped for the coming year, but Allard emphasized that the lower enrollment is not due to the quality of those courses, or the education offered at RTCC.
“The school is in amazing shape—Jason Gingold has done a tremendous job, I think the staff is really invested and they care deeply about the center,” emphasized Allard. “I think [this] is about educating our local community about what Randolph Technical Career Center provides to students that is different than any traditional education.”
She believes that although the “stigma” around technical schools is less than it used to be, there is more work to be done to convince the community that technical education is not lesser than more traditional education options.
“Technical education is hands-on, but that’s not all it’s about,” added Allard. “It’s really about earning credible industry-recognized credentials so that students can walk away ... and get their foot in the door. It’s all of the skills that are required to be a successful worker.”
Both of Allard’s parents were educators in Randolph—her mother worked at RTCC as the adult education coordinator (although at the time the school was the Randolph Area Vocational Center). Her father was a math teacher, and department chair, at RUHS.
Allard herself has been in education for 24 years, and realized early in her career that the director position at RTCC is “definitely the job that I’ve been hoping to end my career with.”
Her education career began as an art teacher in Londonderry, New Hampshire. After a couple years, she began teaching at Spaulding High School, in Barre. There, she became the youngest department chair at age 24.
“I was just a spring chicken,” said Allard, noting that her interest in one day becoming an administrator began during her time as department chair.
While at Spaulding, Allard’s interest in teaching digital arts grew, and when a digital arts position at Hartford Area Career and Technology Center opened up, she took it.
She created the brand-new two-year course on design, illustration, and media arts, while also pursuing her masters in educational leadership.
Last spring, Allard took the assistant director position at Stafford Technical Center, in Rutland.
Although Allard and her family live in town, and own a Christmas tree farm here, she hadn’t anticipated leaving her Rutland job so soon. However, when she saw that RTCC was looking for a new director, she felt like she had to apply while the position was available.
“I feel really compelled to give back to my community after I’ve spent so long giving back to other communities,” said Allard. “That’s meaningful to me, and I think it’s also meaningful to me that [Randolph is] where my parents spent the majority of their careers.”
Working at RTCC, she said, feels like “coming home.”
"I think what makes it my dream job,” she added, “is that I’m working in my own community—with neighbors and friends and relatives.”