Pursuit Institute names deputy director


A Westfield High School graduate has been named deputy director of The Pursuit Institute, which has been designated as an independent career and technical education district by the state of Indiana.

In his role, Kurt Cantlon will work directly with school districts to ensure alignment of educational pathways while guiding and supporting the expansion of career and technical education for students across Hamilton County. Before joining The Pursuit Institute, Kurt worked in career and technical education as the director for Wildcat Creek Career Cooperative in Clinton County.

CIW COM 0328 pursuit institute Kurt Cantlon

Cantlon started his career as a probation officer and worked in mental health before becoming a school counselor.  He has worked in education for the past 14 years as a counselor and administrator.

“I am thrilled to return to work with the youth of Hamilton County, a place that I grew up and continue to raise my family,” he said. “Career and technical education has become a true passion of mine in my years as a school counselor and leading a career and technical education district in another part of the state. Carrie Lively has done an amazing job getting The Pursuit Institute off the ground and ready to serve students. I am excited to join her to continue to innovate and build career and technical education for the benefit of the students and employers of Hamilton County.”

Six school districts – Carmel, Hamilton Heights, Hamilton Southeastern, Noblesville, Sheridan and Westfield – have already approved joint operating agreements to administer career and vocational training.

Students in all Hamilton County school corporations who have sought career and vocational education have attended classes at the J. Everitt Light Career Center in the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township. Under a joint operating agreement, schools will offer classes at their respective schools, allowing students from across Hamilton County to access those courses.

Officials previously said that the designation as a CTE district would allow The Pursuit Institute and the school districts it serves to receive up to $500,000 annually in federal Perkins funding. The institute was named as a CTE district by the state of Indiana in October.

Carrie Lively, executive director of The Pursuit Institute, said that the collaboration between education and industry that is taking place in Hamilton County is unique.

“This innovative approach is the catalyst for developing state of the art programming and educational opportunities,” Lively said. “What makes this even better is that we are affording these opportunities to thousands of students within the county, ensuring equitable access to education, regardless of where students reside.”

Officials hope to get everything up and running in time for the 2023-24 school year, according to Lively.