- Peak Innovation Center
Udouj named as first FSPS Career Education Center & District Innovation Director
Fort Smith, AR, June 3, 2019 - Dr. Gary William Udouj, Jr. has been selected as the Fort Smith Public School’s first Director of the Career Education Center and District Innovation. In this role, he is tasked with developing and implementing comprehensive and innovative programming for students in career and technical education. The Career Education Center is one of the highest profile components of the Vision 2023 Capital Improvement Program recommended and approved by citizens of Fort Smith and Barling in May 2018. Working with education leaders and industry partners, he will oversee the design and the implementation of student-focused and high quality curriculum, career plans that meet state requirements, and track student progress on state standards, career credentials, career certifications and college credit.
“Throughout his career in Fort Smith Public Schools, Dr. Udouj has connected families to economic opportunity through innovative programs supported by strong partnerships with K-12, business, industry, and higher education. I look forward to seeing the many ways that Gary will contribute to the success of this cutting-edge program, our school district, our students, and the State of Arkansas,” said Superintendent Dr. Doug Brubaker.
Udouj is a Fort Smith native and Southside High School graduate. He was appointed as the Director of the FSPS Adult Education Center in 2008 after serving as the assistant director there in 2007. Since that time, he has effectively led a team of 40-plus staff at multiple sites in Sebastian and Scott Counties. He has been responsible for identifying and meeting the changing needs of non-traditional learners as the Adult Education Center has provided basic adult education services, access to apprenticeships, Alternative-sentencing and career readiness programs. In his work, he has also implemented program planning processes that are ongoing and participatory, data-driven and considers community demographics, needs, resources and economic and technological trends.
He said, “I am excited about this opportunity to help develop and expand the Career and Technology Education program for Fort Smith Public Schools. This will be a great program for connecting students with training for demand occupations in a premier facility. We will be able to offer hands-on classroom instruction that aligns across high school and college requirements, equipping students with stackable industry recognized certifications and concurrent credit. We will be able to offer on-the-job training through apprenticeships and internships, with strong mentoring and linkages to adult apprenticeships and continued education at the post-secondary level. We will have a premier, state-of-the-art facility and will be working with business and industry to help fill the gap in mid-skilled employment in our region, and working with our partners in adult education and higher education to make sure we are creating pathways to continued learning and career success for our students. Thank you for this opportunity!”
Udouj earned a doctoral degree in Adult Learning and Lifelong Learning, a Master Degree in Adult Education and Bachelor of Arts in English, all from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Among several awards, he was named as the 2015 Outstanding Adult Education Administrator by the Arkansas Association of Continuing and Adult Education. With this new assignment, Udouj will join a design team developing the construction plan for the building donated by Estate of William L. Hutcheson at 5900 Painter Lane in Fort Smith. Because of this generous contribution the project can move farther and faster than anticipated and is on track for completion Fall 2021. The donation also allows the District to reinvest $3 million budgeted for the purchase of a facility into the Center and its programming.