Faculty Member Says Goodbye After 50 Years of Teaching

Springfield, MO, July 01, 2009 --(PR.com)-- Carl Locke, who has taught in Springfield schools for 50 years, will be retiring this week from Ozarks Technical Community College.

Locke is one of a handful of remaining teachers who taught at both Graff Area Voc-Tech and OTC. Locke started as a teacher in Springfield’s middle and high school system in 1959 and later joined Graff in 1973.

Originally a mathematics and physics teacher in the Springfield school district, Locke became an electrical trades teacher when he started at Graff VO Tech, just a few years after the school opened.

“They needed someone to teach the class so I said I would,” he said.

Locke continued teaching full-time at Graff and OTC for 36 years. He will remain on staff at OTC as a part-time faculty member teaching credit and non-credit courses.

Locke, 78, said he has enjoyed training students for the electrical trades.

“I’ve had super-good people who have gone into good careers. A lot of people have gone through here,” he said.

One of those Locke-trained graduates is Lee Beaman of Beaman Electric in Springfield.

“He is a mentor to most of the electrical contractors in this area. He is a mentor with a capital M,” Beaman said.

Beaman, who attended Graff from 1977-78, said he learned so much from Locke that when Beaman worked for his father in the summer, he would correct his dad on electrical procedures because of what he learned from Locke.

“Carl’s a little old school. His passion for life was his kids. He worked his whole life to make sure they had an opportunity to succeed,” Beaman said.

Locke said one of the biggest changes over the years in the electrical trade field has been in the automation area. He said automated controls now allow someone in Hawaii to control the lights in their home in Springfield.

Locke said he’s not looking forward to retiring but knows it had to happen someday and will leave full-time work with a lot of good memories. The confirmed bachelor said, “I’ve had trying moments and a lot of good moments with good people who got their start here.”

Ozarks Technical Community College offers Associates degrees and certificates in a variety of technical, allied health, and general education programs. Classes are available at five locations throughout southwest Missouri; students can also earn a complete Associates degree through the College’s online classes. A degree can be completed in two years or less, at a fraction of the cost of many area colleges. For more information or to register for classes, visit www.otc.edu or call (417) 447-7500.

Ozarks Technical Community College
Joel Doepker