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Cari Burson is the inaugural Potoff Endowed Chair for Recruitment, Counseling and Job Placement for Pima JTED after local philanthropist Ross H. Potoff pledged $1 million to the program in 2019. 

Burson will develop exploratory classes aimed at introducing students to vocational certification courses and recruitment initiatives targeting students in middle and high school. She’ll also offer guidance and counseling to JTED students as well as help with job placement. 

Before accepting the position, Burson served as the former director of career and technical education at Catalina Foothills High School. She is also a University of Arizona graduate and holds master’s degrees in educational leadership and educational psychology from Northern Arizona University. 

Potoff, who spent 40 years as a precision machine designer at the UA’s College of Optical Sciences, said he gained his skills through a high school vocational program which kept him financially secure since the 1960s. Pledging the money to create Burson’s position helped him satisfy his goal of paying it forward to future generations.