Clarence Fortney became Great Plains Technology Center’s 7th superintendent on July 1, 2016. He succeeded Dr. Tom Thomas who served as superintendent for six years. During Dr. Thomas time at the helm Mr. Fortney served as Deputy Superintendent. He previously served as Director of Instruction, Director of Secondary Education and Director of Adult Career and Development. Mr. Fortney graduated from Great Plains high school welding program. He then became a teacher’s aide and lead welding instructor at GPTC before moving to the administration.
“Great Plains holds a special place in my life as I’ve either gone to school or worked here for 40 years”, Fortney said. “I’ve been fortunate to have learned from several Great Plains superintendents, especially the past three superintendents, Kenneth Bridges, the late Jim Nisbett and Dr. Thomas. They were all fiscally conservative, student centered and focused on economic development. I highly value those same traits.”
Fortney has served as Chairman of the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce, President of the Lawton Fort Sill United Way Board of Directors and President of the Lawton Fort Sill Community Education Council. He is currently a board member of the Lawton Economic Development Corporation. He was appointed by former Gov. Brad Henry to serve on the Oklahoma Emergency Medical Services Council. He was named the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education “Educator of the Year” for the Administrative Division in 2010. He is an avid bicyclist and immensely enjoys his grandchildren. He and his wife are active in their local church.
Karen Bailey was named Great Plains Technology Center’s Deputy Superintendent in 2016. She served as Director of Academic Affairs and External Relations from 2006-2016. She previously served as Student Communications Coordinator, Gifted and Talented Coordinator, and as a high school and adult counselor. She has been employed at Great Plains since 1989. She shepherded Great Plains’ trail-blazing efforts in developing two award-winning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs: Pre-Engineering and Biomedical Sciences and Medicine. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Cameron University and a master’s degree at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Prior to Great Plains, she worked as a counselor at Walters Public Schools. She is actively involved in the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), and the Lawton Public Schools’ Foundation.
Justin McNeil joined Great Plains Technology Center in 2016 as the Director of the School of Career Opportunities and Real Education. He previously served as the Assistant Senior Principal at Lawton High School. He has earned a bachelor’s degree from Cameron University and a master’s degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He is an avid outdoorsman.
Campus Director, Frederick
Ken McKee joined the GPTC family in 2018, as the Campus Director for the Tillman Kiowa Campus located in Frederick. Prior to that, he worked 28 years for Snyder Public Schools, the last 14 in administration. He also worked two years for Goodyear following his retirement from Snyder Public Schools. Ken has an associate’s degree from OSU IT, a bachelor of science degree from Cameron University, and a Master’s Degree in Education from Southwest Oklahoma State University. He is active in his church, the Frederick Chamber of Commerce and the Frederick Lions Club. He and his wife, Sharon have three grown children.
Information Technology Director
Lance Alston was named Director of Information Technology in 2019. He has been in the IT field since 2005. His IT career began by working for a local financial institution a help desk representative and an evening systems analyst. He has worked at Fort Sill in the Battle Simulation Center as a C4I Systems Manager and Systems Analyst, and at Comanche County Memorial Hospital as an Informaticist and an HL7 Integration Specialist. Lance has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Information Technology, and an MBA. In his spare time, Lance enjoys traveling with my wife, Jenna and family. He enjoys golfing when the Oklahoma weather permits, and working on things around the house.
Human Resources Director
Valerie Anderson was named the GPTC Director of Human Resources in 2019. She previously worked in Human Resources for Halliburton Energy Services. Since 2003 she has been a Certified Professional in Human Resources and is a member of national and local Society of Human Resources chapters. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Cameron University.
Director of Instruction
James Bishop has been employed at GPTC since 1997. He previously taught Game Design and 3D Animation and E-Commerce Web Services at Great Plains. He received a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He earned a Master of Science degree in Adult Education from the University of Central Oklahoma. He is active in his church and numerous civic organizations.
Director, Economic Development
Keith Bridges has led Great Plains’ economic development support efforts since 1993. He previously served as GPTC’s Director of Business and Industry Recruitment. Prior to Great Plains, Keith served as CEO of the Tinney Corporation. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Cameron University. He has earned numerous state and national economic development certifications, including the National Development Council Finance Certification. He has served on the Governor’s Economic Development Team since 1999. Keith has also held leadership positions in numerous local leadership, civic, arts, and economic development organizations, including two terms as Chairman of the Lawton Airport Authority. He is currently a board member of both the Lawton Public Schools Foundation and the Comanche County Memorial Hospital “Starlight” Foundation. He is an avid golfer and is active in his local church.
Director, Marketing and Communication
Susan Hardy Brooks
Susan Hardy Brooks, APR, has more than 35 years of experience as a school PR professional. She previously served for 19 years as a marketing director in Oklahoma’s career tech system. She also has experience as a PR and marketing consultant and as vice-president of a regional PR firm. Susan has counseled career tech, K-12, higher education and corporate leaders on strategic planning, crisis communications, branding, reputation management and a range of other leadership issues. Prior to joining GPTC, she served as the Director of Communications at CCOSA, the state association for school administrators. Susan is past-president of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) and past-president and current board member of Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma. She is also a member of Leadership Oklahoma, Class XXVI. She has a M.S. in education administration from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Journalism from Oklahoma Baptist University.
Leah Fultz began her career at Great Plains Technology Center in 1997 in the Marketing and Communications Department. She became the Superintendent’s Administrative Assistant before assuming the Treasurer’s position. She attended Cameron University. Leah is an accomplished photographer.
Director, Business and Industry Services
Morgan Gould joined Great Plains Technology Center in 2016 and currently serves as the Director of Business and Industry Services (BIS). BIS works with those who want to Start, Grow and Sustain their businesses through training, coaching, incubation and other means.
Prior to joining Great Plains, Morgan worked in commercial banking, business coaching and has owned his own business. He was named the 2013 Oklahoma Veteran Small Business Champion by the Small Business Administration and is a graduate of Leadership Lawton. Morgan is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional.
Director, Student Support Services
Joelle Jolly has been employed at GPTC since 2005. She previously worked as the Employment Advisor at Great Plains. Joelle earned her bachelor’s degree at Colorado State University and her M. Ed in Educational Leadership from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Prior to working at Great Plains, she served as the Senior Director of Operations at Marie Detty Youth and Family Services. Joelle is active in her church, an avid music lover, a supporter of local arts organizations, and is active in many civic and service organizations.
Director, Instructional Support Services
William (Bill) Matthey
Bill was originally employed at Great Plains as a Desktop Support (I.T.) instructor in 2010. He was previously employed in public education in Idaho. Bill earned his BBA from Baylor University and his Master of Education Leadership at Idaho State University. He is an accomplished photographer and a member of the Wichita Wild Light Photographic Society. He is active in his church at Elgin.
Director, Adult Career Development
John has been employed at Great Plains since 1990. Prior to serving as ACD Director John served as ACD Assistant Director, Adult Coordinator, Computer Technician and Instructor. He earned his Master of Education degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2002 after earning his BS degree from Cameron University. John has served as president of the Lawton-Fort Sill United Way Board and remains active in many local, state and national organizations.
Director, Health Sciences and STEM and ABE
Mike Newell joined Great Plains Technology in 2004, as an instructor in the School of Career Opportunities and Real Education (SCORE). He currently serves as the Director of Health Sciences, STEM, and Adult Basic Education. He previously taught at Lawton Public Schools and was employed at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cameron University. He is a graduate of Leadership Lawton, and, is active in his local church and in many Lawton area civic and service organizations.
Director, Purchasing and Maintenance
Justin Neeley began his career at Great Plains Technology Center in 2006 in the Maintenance Department. In 2017 he was named Assistant Director of Maintenance and Purchasing and was named the department’s Director in 2019. Justin is a graduate of GPTC’s Automotive Service Technology, and the Goodyear Maintenance Training programs. Prior to GPTC, Justin owned his own business, J&S Customs for 11 years. Justin and his wife Sarah have three children. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with his family and fishing trips.
Brandi Thomas has been employed at GPTC since 2019, as the school’s Business Manager. She previously worked for City National Bank in Lawton for 17 years as the Vice President of the Business Development Center. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Cameron University. She is passionate about the Lawton Fort Sill community and serves in numerous civic organizations.