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Mary Cantrell, PhD, Director

Manatee Technical InstituteThe first thing one appreciates when talking with Mary Cantrell, Ph.D., is her enthusiasm for career and technical education. The director of Manatee Technical Institute since December 1996, her leadership has brought the school into the national limelight. Annually for the past five years, MTI has won more medals at national competition than any other school in the United States; in 2008 MTI won 92 medals (the second place school won 22).

Cantrell glows as she describes the keys to the school's success: dedicated staff, industry-driven curriculum, and state-of-the-art facilities.This is the most dedicated staff with which I have ever had the pleasure of working, said Cantrell, a 42-year veteran in education. It is their hard work and the mutual respect they and the students have for each other that makes the difference. The school's vast amount of service to the community won MTI the 2007 Tampa Bay Business of the Year Award.Over 300 partners from business and industry give advice and their time and energy to support the efforts of the only accredited public post secondary tech center in Manatee County. This partnership ensures that MTI is on track to meet the training needs of local employers. MTI now offers over 80 different industry certifications, most of then nationally recognized.As a result of Cantrell's determination and drive, a new state-of-the-art campus has taken form. The building for medical and dental programs was built in 2001, establishing the first of three buildings to comprise the MTI East Campus in Lakewood Ranch. The fire science training facility was built and opened last year. The law enforcement and allied health building opened in August 2008.

Cantrell is hopeful about a new campus for the remaining programs on the aging Main Campus. Built in 1963, it is one of the oldest tech centers in the state. Though green technology is evident, given the condition of the buildings there, MTI has defied all odds. Under Cantrell's direction, it seems that anything is possible.Cantrell sums up how she encourages MTI's students and staff to succeed: You never know what you can do until you push yourself into the zone of what you thought you couldn't do."

This is the most dedicated staff with which I have ever had the pleasure of working, said Cantrell, a 42-year veteran in education. It is their hard work and the mutual respect they and the students have for each other that makes the difference.

5603 34th Street WestBradenton, FL941.751.7900ManateeTechnicalInstitute.orgMary Cantrell, PhD, Director

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