While students may only be 20%-25% of our population today, they are 100% of our future. That is why education is one of the most important investments a country can make and the sole purpose for the existence of the Better Learning Podcast.

The Better Learning Podcast brings on valued guests that talk about ways we can improve education for our kids. Because after all, they are 100% of our future!



January 24, 2023

Small rural schools often face challenges in providing diverse career training opportunities for their students. Limited resources and infrastructure can hinder students from gaining exposure to high-demand, high-wage positions upon graduation.

Recognizing the need for a transformative solution, McCamey ISD, in collaboration with three other districts, took a bold step to kick off the Permian Basin Innovation Zone (PBIZ). This initiative stems from the belief that every student, regardless of their school's size or location, should have access to quality career training.

PBIZ is not just an ordinary program; it's a Texas Education Agency (TEA) backed initiative that goes beyond traditional boundaries. The program is designed to facilitate collaboration among small rural schools, allowing them to pool resources, share students, and even exchange staff. This collaborative effort aims to create a dynamic learning environment that mirrors the real-world demands of the workforce.

PBIZ breaks down the barriers that often limit rural students. By collaborating with neighboring districts, schools can offer a broader range of trades and vocational programs. This enables students to explore and graduate with valuable skills that align with high-demand and high-wage positions in the job market.

PBIZ isn't just about providing technical skills; it's a holistic approach to education that considers the unique needs of rural communities. By fostering collaboration, PBIZ ensures that students not only receive quality training but also gain a broader perspective on the career opportunities available to them.

In this episode, learn about the transformative impact of PBIZ on rural education, gain insights into Mr. Valencia's journey and his efforts to enhance learning opportunities, and explore Elizabeth Hegi's expertise in education technology and creating innovative learning environments.


Mr. Michael Valencia is the Superintendent of McCamey Independent School District.  He has served in various positions throughout his 22 year educational career. Michael began his career with Pecos Barstow Toyah ISD as a teacher and coach. He is married to his wife Ashley, and together, they share six wonderful children.

Elizabeth Hegi is with Kay-Twelve and has over 17 years experience working with school districts in Texas in the Education Technology, School Photography and Yearbook industries. Most recently she partnered with school districts to provide technology solutions to their campuses. She is excited to continue partnering with schools to assist them in creating more unique, collaborative, and effective learning spaces. She has lived and worked in the Houston area most of her life, and now resides in New Braunfels with her husband and three children.


Listen on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJ_YjrAMajk


Learn more about Michael Valencia:

McCamey ISD Website: https://www.mcisd.esc18.net/

Michael's LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-valencia-987b448b/


Learn more about Elizabeth Hegi:

Kay-Twelve's Website: https://www.kay-twelve.com/

Elizabeth's LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabeth3302/


Learn more about creating better learning environments at www.Kay-Twelve.com.

Kevin Stoller is the host of the Better Learning Podcast and Co-Founder of Kay-Twelve, a national leader for educational furniture. Find out more about Kevin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinstoller/

For more episodes of the Better Learning Podcast, visit https://www.betterlearningpodcast.com/


Episode 162 of the Better Learning Podcast

Kevin Stoller is the host of the Better Learning Podcast and Co-Founder of Kay-Twelve, a national leader for educational furniture. Learn more about creating better learning environments at www.Kay-Twelve.com.


Who made this episode possible?

Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) - https://www.a4le.org/

Education Leaders' Organization - https://www.ed-leaders.org/

Second Class Foundation - https://secondclassfoundation.org/


If you are interested in being on the show or know someone who would be a great guest, please visit the Better Learning Podcast website.