Powell uses the farm, education lessons in life | Monday man
Darrin Powell brought education and agriculture together to shape his career.
He is currently Acting Academic Director at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, holding various positions at the school for 22 years.
âI enjoy working on a variety of things and interacting with a lot of different people on campus and in our area,â he said. âBeing able to work with all of the different programs offered by the college and help various sectors of our community meet their needs makes me proud of what I do. Helping to make our region a better place for our future and that of our children gives me the energy to try to do my part to make this better future a reality.
Powell, 48, grew up on a family farm in Hardin Springs. He said he had moved five times in his life – all within the same half-mile radius of the farm he grew up on and the farm he owns across the road .
He married his high school girlfriend, Penny, who lived on a nearby farm. Both are educators and enjoy living in their hometown. They have two sons, Craig, 24, and Blake, 22.
Powell actually started at ECTC when he was in his last year of high school, but as a student taking classes there. At the time, he was moving towards a career as a mechanic. While there, he changed his focus to teaching math. He received his teacher certification in mathematics and computer programming from Western Kentucky University.
He started his teaching career at Meade County High School and began teaching at ECTC as an evening assistant teacher. After two years of high school education, he began teaching full time at the college level.
âEducation has been a big influence in my life and as the first person in my family to attend university at my parents’ request and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity,â he said. he said, adding that he had obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree from WKU and is currently seeking a doctorate from Murray State. “For me, education is about developing you, we learn new things in the classroom, but more than that, we develop the ability to continue to develop as a person.”
He was able to accomplish a variety of things while at ECTC. He was part of the amalgamation of the workforce development groups when the ECC and technical college merged into ECTC, becoming the technical training coordinator for the office.
“This has allowed me to work with many industries in the region served by ECTC and I have developed training plans for commercial and industrial clients ranging from computer training to technical skills such as welding and electrical” , did he declare. “In doing this, I have often written grant applications for Bluegrass State Skills and KYWINS funding to help cover the costs of training employees in companies.”
He also developed apprenticeship programs, learned a variety of programs, and developed skills in various areas in college while working in corporate training, Powell said.
“Mr. Powell has continuously led the ECTC with a strong awareness and respect for the institution’s past, as well as the contributions of the many who came before him,” said Mike Hazzard , Dean of Workforce Solutions and President of the Technical Division.
He called it honest, consistent and fair.
“As Interim Academic Director, Mr. Powell is constantly faced with a multitude of puzzling challenges that require thinking beyond the immediate situation and striving for creative, fair and cohesive solutions,” said Hazzard.
When ECTC built a campus in Springfield, Powell became the campus director.
âI had the opportunity to finalize the equipment of the facility, hire staff and faculty to manage the campus and develop plans for the opening and growth of the campus,â said Powell. . âIt was a wonderful learning opportunity for me as I had significant control over all campus operations, student services, academic programming and physical campus management. “
He then moved to the new Leitchfield campus after it was built. He then added to his management plate all of the extended campuses that included Fort Knox.
His role as interim director of studies allows him to work with all areas of the college.
âOne of the biggest changes I’ve made is our transition to a predominantly 8-week model for courses,â he said, adding that ECTC previously used the 16-week semester. âAfter looking at options to help the college improve our graduation rates and help students complete their education, we determined that research has proven that completing courses in 8-week sessions is more successful. “
Two years ago, 10% of courses were given over eight-week terms, this semester the percentage is 74%.
âThis change is important because the data shows that students do better in the short term,â he said. “With all the uncertainty in our lives with COVID and other pressures, it’s much easier for students to manage two classes in eight weeks than four classes over 16 weeks.”
ECTC President and CEO Dr Juston Pate said he was proud of the work Powell did at the college.
âHe always takes the time to listen to faculty, staff and students so that he can act in their best interests,â he said.
He called Powell one of the best men he knows.
âHe genuinely cares about the students and the college, and it shows in the way he leads,â said Pate. “He’s one of the best listeners I’ve ever met and I think that’s one of the reasons people enjoy working with him.”
Powell learned a farm work ethic and took control of his own destiny growing up on the farm.
âFarming is a fun and difficult way of life,â said Powell. âThere are long hot days and cold wet days, but there is something magical about working with your hands and knowing that you have been able to make a living on the same farm as your family for over 150 years. “
His parents were full-time farmers and he spent many days following his father doing daily chores around the farm as they grew corn, soybeans and tobacco and had cows and pigs.
âYou have to learn to prioritize because every day there are several projects that need to be done, but you usually only have time to accomplish a few,â he said. âAs a child and as an adult, we would often help other farmers with tasks that required extra hands and they would return the gesture when we needed something, helping me learn the value of farming. compassion and helping others when needed. â
Farming is a hobby for him today, but he still operates 350 acres and owns 100 cows.
âI love spending time outdoors, working with my hands and spending time with my children while we do the chores on the farm,â he said. âBeing on the same farmland as my father, grandfather and great-grandfather knowing that I cut hay in the same field as them just makes me appreciate their influence over me. “
He has also been active in other roles in the community. Powell was once the chief of the West 84 Volunteer Fire Department, which his father, Darryl Powell, helped establish in 1979. He has served as president and member of the Rotary Club, served on the District Development Council of the Lincoln Trail area, volunteered at the school and was a member of various chambers of commerce.
You can reach Becca Owsley at 270-505-1416 [email protected]