New leader embraces Butler Tech’s business focus

If the new leader of Butler Tech had any doubt about a major focus of his mission, the career school’s board members who chose him made it clear.

Veteran Butler County educator Jon Graft was hired Tuesday evening by unanimous vote of the governing board of Butler Tech to lead one of Ohio’s largest career school networks.

In the months leading up to Graft’s hiring, Butler Tech undertook – for the first time - an extensive survey of area community and business leaders, teachers and staffers as to what direction the school should focus on under a new leader.

High among the findings was a wide consensus need for Butler Tech to forge more partnerships with local industries and health care service providers.

“He (Graft) showed his ability to forge collaborative relationships”,” said Butler Tech board member Lynda O’Connor. “Jon rose to the top of the candidate group because of his connections in Butler County, and he is financially astute.”

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Graft said he understands the priority.

“I accept this challenge,” he told the board.

“Collaborating is deciding how you are going to transform a community. We need to match the needs of our businesses with the needs of our students,” said Graft, who is superintendent of the Butler County Educational Service Center.

The leader of the influential business chamber for two of Butler County’s most economically vibrant townships welcomed the hire.

Joe Hinson, president and CEO of the West Chester and Liberty Chamber Alliance, praised Graft’s selection, saying “he will provide solid hands-on experience and the necessary skill set to lead Butler Tech for years to come.”

“The West Chester and Liberty Chamber Alliance looks forward to working with Jon and enhancing our long standing partnership with Butler Tech,” said Hinson.

Graft is a 24-year veteran of public education who has worked as a teacher and administrator in the county since 1993.

Graft, who will begin his new job Aug. 1, replaces Bill Miller as permanent superintendent for Butler Tech. Miller retired Jan.1 and was replaced by Interim Superintendent Laura Sage, a former administration official with Butler Tech.

Butler Tech serves 27,000 full- and part-time high school and adult students on five campuses throughout the county and is one of only three, publicly funded career schools in Southwest Ohio.

Graft’s annual salary is $145,000, and he is Butler Tech’s seventh superintendent and CEO.

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