Manson business owner LaMar sees value in new school approach
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second of a three-part series that takes a look at changes the Manson School District has made to prepare students for life beyond high school.
Brett LaMar, the owner of Lake Chelan Building Supply, was more than a bit skeptical when he first heard that the Manson School District was considering making radical changes in how kids are educated in the district.
“My first reaction was: ‘Are you kidding me?’” LaMar told me. It seemed, he said, like it might be another one of those passing fads.
He has gone from skeptic to a true believer in the value of the district’s approach.
His store in Manson has hosted a number of student interns and he has found that to be a wonderful way to mentor kids in the community. But it has also given LaMar and his team fresh ideas about how to create a better customer experience.
Based on deep community conversations that were dubbed “Manson Learns,” the district launched a revolutionary approach to create a more personalized, customized learning experience.
LaMar is not only a local business leader, but he’s Manson’s baseball coach and the parent of several students in the district. His son Jared is a senior this year and has his sights set on videography as a career. Through the directed-studies program, his son was able to develop a first-class video for the school.
LaMar plans to have his son shoot a video for his stores this summer before the young man heads off to school. He credits the school for creating the opportunity for his son to pursue his passion and get real-world experience.
When he first started thinking about providing internships, LaMar had some doubts. “This isn’t exactly a glamour industry,” he said. But having kids in his store helping out has given him a different perspective. When other business owners call and ask about whether internships work, he gives them “two thumbs up,” he said.
He gives Superintendent Matt Charlton a lot of credit for his vision and leadership. “Matt has helped put the pride back in Manson schools,” LaMar said.
The whole community has benefited, he noted. “The Manson community was already tight, but this project made it even tighter,” he added.