JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP — A love of television started at an early age for Scott Wludyga who got his start on video and on-air projects as a high school student at Pymatuning Valley High School.
Wludyga eventually garnered a spot at WJET in Erie where he held numerous positions as he rose to sports director of the station, but a love of education and being back home returned him to Ashtabula County as an educator.
A love of a challenge and natural inclination to leadership then put him on a new path that has led to his preparation to become superintendent of A-Tech on Aug. 1.
“One of the things I was able to do was [to be] the announcer for the boys basketball games,” Wludyga said of his days in high school. He said his love of video started in high school as well and several teachers assisted him in that process.
“I made football highlight films for my teammates their senior year,” Wludyga said.
“That was the first time I was on the microphone,” Wludyga said of his stint as basketball announcer. After his 1993 graduation from Pymatuning Valley High School, Wludyga went to Allegheny College and earned a degree in communications.
During the year between Wludyga’s junior and senior year of college, he was able to get an internship at WJET that changed the course of his life. He said the opportunity quickly escalated into a permanent position.
“I got hired a couple weeks into my internship [in 1996],” Wludyga said. He said he moved from news videographer, to news reporter, to sports reporter to sports director in the spring of 1999. “I was in that position until 2006,” he said.
At that point, Wludyga decided to go into education through a career technology path that allows professionals to use their career experience to teach in fields such as multi-media.
“I followed the same path as any career tech,” he said of his transition in 2008.
Wludyga then earned a master’s degree at Kent State University.
“After teaching, I became interested in the administrative side. That is when I pursued a masters in educational leadership from Concordia University,” Wluydga said.
He said he also held a variety of administrative roles during his time in education.
The coronavirus has firmed up Wludyga’s understanding of what the school’s mission is to the area. He said most of the workers deemed essential by the government are trained for their careers through A-Tech. He said safety forces, nurses, construction and restaurant workers are just a few of the professions that receive instruction at the school.
He said the importance of other careers started at A-Tech were also highlighted.
“What did people miss the most? You missed going to your cosmetologist. You missed going to a restaurant,” he said.
The importance of technology for every-day life in a pandemic was also brought to the forefront, Wludyga said.
“Our students not only know how to set up [communication systems], but they might invent the next app,” he said.
The school also helps local students save money by taking high school classes that earn them free college credit or potential industry certification.
A key to the development of the school’s 19 majors involves an advisory committee that includes representatives of each career from the area so the school can provide the most helpful educational programs, Wludyga said.
“They keep us in touch with what is going on,” he said.
A-Tech has about 600 students on campus during the school year with another 250 adults receiving instruction, Wludyga said. He said the students impacted by satellite programs increases that number to about 2,500 with 11 satellite multi-media programs and several junior high computer classes.
Wludyga said some of the perceptions regarding vocational schooling have changed over the years as the importance of technology has increased and the need for specially skilled workers grows. He said a program for sophomores helps students review a variety of options during a career exploration program included 35 students last year, but now has 70 participating students for the upcoming school year on a waiting list.
“What we are seeing is not only do the students see the value, but parents and grandparents are seeing the value,” Wludyga said.
An example of a program that can lead directly to a good paying job is the pharmacy assistant program, he said.
“Our pharmacy [assistant program] is one of only seven in the state where [a student] can be certified as a pharmacy assistant,” Wludyga said.
Wludyga was born in Conneaut, but has lived most of his life in the Andover area and his parents Rick and Susan live in New Lyme. He is married to Karla, who he was on the air with on WJET television for many years. The couple have an 8-year-old son, Liam.