Donovan's dream fulfilled: postion at West-MEC
Greg Donovan looks through the agenda during a West-MEC meeting. The technical overlay district governing board last week hired Donovan as its first superintendent. (Photo by Carolyn Dryer)

Greg Donovan has reached the pinnacle of his career n heading up West-MEC, the new technical overlay district that covers eight high school districts in the West Valley. Donovan was one of the advocates for the overlay district and actively campaigned to get the technical overlay district approved by voters in November. West-MEC hired Donovan as its superintendent during a Jan. 30 board meeting.

"This is the culmination of a lifetime of work," Donovan said. "Career and technical education is my passion, and to dedicate myself to this opportunity is something I'd love to do."

Donovan earned his bachelor's degree in industrial education and his master's degree in vocational education from Northern Arizona University. He did additional graduate work in educational leadership and has a superintendent's certificate. He has been the project director for the NAU Institute for Future Workforce Development almost 10 years. Donovan said he expects his West-MEC position to be in effect within eight weeks.

The district will be starting from scratch.

"We don't know of anybody alive who has started a public school from the ground up," Donovan said in an interview the day after he was hired as the first superintendent of West-MEC.

When the East Valley Technical College was formed in 1991, Donovan said, it inherited the Mesa Vo-Tech facility, policy manuals and employees.

"We've got nothing n no policy. We don't own a pencil," Donovan said. "It's literally from the ground up."

Two months before the overlay district was approved by voters, Donovan said the increase in secondary property tax rates would be used to "upgrade and enhance existing courses; expand the number and quality of courses available; make courses as convenient as possible for students; provide training for students to enter the workforce and pursue continuing education; and retrain individuals to enhance job skills and improve their lifestyles."

Although it will have free office space at 4949 W. Indian School Road donated by John F. Long Properties, West-MEC could eventually have a central campus in the West Valley. But funding is not automatic for a technical district campus.

Donovan said, "One of the things specific to joint technical districts is we do not qualify for Students FIRST. So, we will have to go out to the community for bonding."