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NCLA Podcast

NCLA Podcast


This podcast is brought to you by NCLA. In each episode, our host, Rachael Mann, is joined by Career and Technical Education (CTE) thought leaders to share innovative approaches to local challenges that will inspire CTE administrators across the nation.
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Innovative CTE Practices in Building Oklahoma's Workforce wtih Superintendent and CEO, Brian Ruttman

NCLA Podcast May 22, 2023

Innovative CTE Practices in Building Oklahoma's Workforce wtih Superintendent and CEO, Brian Ruttman

Innovative CTE Practices in Building Oklahoma's Workforce wtih Superintendent and CEO, Brian Ruttman

For 20 years, Brian Ruttman has been instrumental in building Oklahoma’s workforce through

his visionary leadership for Oklahoma CareerTech. With a passion for helping others improve

their lives through education and employment, Ruttman is a true innovator and inspiring

community servant.

Ruttman’s service to the Oklahoma CareerTech system began in 2003 at Metro Technology

Centers in Oklahoma City, where he served as chief officer, executive officer and associate

superintendent. Since 2019, he has led the Moore Norman Technology Center (MNTC) district

as superintendent and chief executive officer. Ruttman’s strong vision for the future and

transformational leadership has empowered his team to develop innovative programming to

fulfill the workforce needs of the communities they serve.

Through Ruttman’s collaborative approach, MNTC has developed strategic partnerships with

public schools, police and fire departments, hospitals and other industry leaders to identify

training and educational opportunities that prepare students for success and benefit the

community. Under Ruttman’s leadership, MNTC has pioneered the way for first-of-a-kind

training programs in transportation, public safety, health and aviation industries.

Ruttman was recognized by the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council

(OkCTEEC) for his communication and leadership skills during the COVID-19 pandemic. He

prioritized the health and safety of students, faculty and staff to ensure a safe learning

environment. In 2021 and 2022, MNTC received the Great Places to Work certification that

measures employee survey results against best practices from leading companies worldwide to

recognize employers who create an outstanding employee experience.

A strong advocate for economic development throughout the greater Oklahoma City

metropolitan area, Ruttman is involved in several chambers of commerce. He has served on the

executive board of the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the

board of directors of the Norman Economic Development Coalition.

Ruttman is a longtime supporter of United Way of Norman, championing the cause through

MNTC’s pacesetter campaign that creates opportunities for employees to give back to their

community. Additionally, he prioritizes support of the MNTC Foundation, providing scholarships

for students, grants for teachers and emergency funding for students or staff facing financial


His commitment to improving the quality of life for fellow Oklahomans extends beyond his

professional endeavors. In his personal life, Ruttman and his family are active in the Laotian

community, connecting individuals with English language learning and other education to help

increase employment opportunities and family resources.

A graduate of University of Central Oklahoma, Ruttman has a master’s degree in adult

education and training and a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He and his wife,

Nunu, reside in south Oklahoma City with their son and daughter, Ashleigh and Aubrey.

May 22, 202324:57
Dr. Christopher Bonn: Increasing Enrollment, Attendance, and achievement with CTE

Dr. Christopher Bonn: Increasing Enrollment, Attendance, and achievement with CTE

In this episode, we are joined by Dr. Christopher Bonn to discuss the role of Career and Technical Education in getting failing schools out of trouble. Dr. Bonn is a highly accomplished educator and leader with over 32 years of experience in various roles, including as an educator, athletic coach, culinary arts teacher, special education teacher, principal, university faculty, mentor, and superintendent. He is the President and CEO of Bonfire Leadership Solutions, a renowned authority, and speaker on transforming failing schools and school districts using innovative and non-conventional practices. Throughout his career, Dr. Bonn has worked in Arizona, California, and New Mexico and has contributed his success to Career and Technical Education, Extra-Curricular Activities, and Classrooms without Walls. He firmly believes that Career and Technical Education is the future and will repair antiquated educational systems that are failing miserably. Dr. Bonn's extensive experience has equipped him with the knowledge and expertise to provide practical and effective solutions for schools and districts facing challenges. His passion for education and commitment to improving students' lives has made him a sought-after speaker and consultant.






Twitter: @azbuckshot

Free Professional Development Group for School Administrators

Apr 23, 202343:05
Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Statewide Consortia Model with Dr. Sara Vande Kamp and Fawn Wilde

Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Statewide Consortia Model with Dr. Sara Vande Kamp and Fawn Wilde

In this episode, Dr. Sara Vande Kamp and Fawn Wilde discuss best practices in establishing and sustaining a successful statewide consortia model for stronger networking, collaboration, and greater use of Perkins funds. Learn more about this initiative in this podcast and by diving into the resources below:

Techniques Magazine

SD Governor's Office of Economic Development Magazine

Global CTE Podcast Episode

Fawn Wilde is the Western SD CTE Consortium Director, based out of Western Dakota Technical College in Rapid City, South Dakota, where she works with over 20 rural school districts’ CTE programs and educators. She is passionate about positively impacting the lives of others and bringing people together for the betterment of the group. She spends most of her non-working hours exploring new places, hiking, doing yoga, and engaging with her daughters. Connect with Fawn on LinkedIn.


Sara Vande Kamp, Ed.D., is the eastern Perkins consortium director at Southeast Technical College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She provides CTE vision and guidance to 27 school districts while closely working with the SD DOE. As a lifelong learner, Vande Kamp considers it a joy to work in the world of education. She also enjoys finding new coffee shops and spending time outdoors with her husband and two daughters. Connect with Dr. Vande Kamp on ⁠LinkedIn⁠.

Apr 07, 202325:42
Academic Esports' Engaging Students in Future Emerging Technologies with Dr. Jill Ranucci

Academic Esports' Engaging Students in Future Emerging Technologies with Dr. Jill Ranucci

In this episode, Rachael Mann and Dr. Ranucci discuss engaging students in future emerging technologies and the growing role that Academic Esports is playing in Career and Technical Education.

Meet Dr. Ranucci:

Dr. Jill Ranucci is a College and Career Readiness advocate and has an extensive

background in Career and Technical Education (CTE) as an administrator and teacher.

Dr. Ranucci has held district positions in CTE in Arizona and Texas, as well as, serving

as an Assistant Principal in Arizona. Additionally, Dr. Ranucci taught for 7 years at the

University of Northern Iowa and 3 years at the University of Akron. Recently, Dr.

Ranucci has been consulting for several CTE companies to help them align resources

to state standards, state initiatives, industry recognized credentials/certifications and

academic integration. Jill believes every CTE courses must provide premiere curricular

resources to promote successful student outcomes.


She earned a Ph.D. in Teaching and Teacher Education/Curriculum and Instruction and

Education Leadership from the University of Arizona, a MS in Sport Physiology and a

BS in Education with K-12 certifications in several core and CTE content areas.


Dr. Ranucci speaks and publishes nationally for educational organizations and has

been part of national CTE committees for school reform to endorse college and career

readiness curricular initiatives. Through her leadership, campuses have benefited from

rigorous and academically integrated CTE courses.

Learn more about academic esports here:

Apr 02, 202332:39
Changing Perceptions of CTE for All Stakeholders in K-12 School with Dr. Crowder

Changing Perceptions of CTE for All Stakeholders in K-12 School with Dr. Crowder

"One of my passions is changing the perception of all stakeholders that CTE students are “less than”  vs. “greater than.” As educators, we all know that there are many professions out there that make an  exorbitant amount of money in comparison to teaching. We also know that many of these professions  require far less formal college education, but yet, we still hesitate to promote these careers. Why? I’ve thought about this a lot over the last several years and I think the answer is simple. I think it is  lack of familiarity or knowledge of these career paths. Many educators I have seen support students  in choosing trade careers are those whose spouse is in that career, or their parent was in that type of  career, so they have a frame of reference and understanding. 

Unfortunately, we still live in a society where if I lined up 100 seniors and asked them what they  were going to do next school year, chances are all 100 would say “college” because that has become  the societal expectation for graduates. How do we change that perception and congratulate and  support the many students who chose an alternative post-secondary path?  

Postsecondary education will always be important, and I think every young professional needs to  continue their education; but this does not have to come in the traditional format of a two-year or  four-year university. There are so many more postsecondary options that students can take advantage  of if we as educators stop limiting them to only traditional paths. 

In Henrico County Public Schools, we have stated that we want our students to graduate “Triple E”,  meaning they need to be either enrolled, enlisted, and/or employed. This is our goal for every  graduate, every year." Continue reading and connect with Dr. Crowder here.

Bio: Dr. William J. Crowder, Jr. (B.J.) is the Assistant Director of Workforce & Career Development  (CTE) for Henrico County Public Schools in Henrico, Virginia. He has formerly served as a  building principal, associate principal, assistant principal, classroom teacher and athletic coach.  His desire is to assist students in finding their passion and directing them towards a career  pathway and for each student to graduate either enrolled, enlisted, and/or employed. Dr.  Crowder’s entire 19-year career has been surrounded by CTE from being a CTE teacher,  supervising CTE at the middle school level, a CTE building principal, and his current position of  Assistant Director of CTE. 

Dr. Crowder also serves as a doctoral capstone mentor and adjunct professor at the collegiate  level in educational leadership and curriculum and instruction.

Mar 27, 202331:01
 What should students be learning to succeed in today's world - and how can schools bring that learning to the classroom? With Dave Conelias
Mar 06, 202334:29
It's All About The Job: The Critical Role of Fire Science Education in CTE with Firefighter Bob Dipietro
Feb 27, 202339:37
Thrive Through the Five with Dr. Jill Siler
Dec 16, 202225:27
The Dope Teacher Mobile Shop Class: Acclaimed Teacher, Evin Jarrett Shares Innovative Approaches to Inspiring Young Minds
Nov 26, 202217:23
"Earning While Learning through Apprenticeships" with Dr. Doug Darling

"Earning While Learning through Apprenticeships" with Dr. Doug Darling

Dr. Doug Darling has been President of Lake Region State College since May 2013. Dr. Darling has 34 years of experience in Higher Education, Career and Technical Education, Workforce Development and Work Force Training.  He has led the development of numerous CTE programs to meet industry employment needs in North Dakota. Dr. Darling believes strongly in the Community College mission and in providing access for all to education and training. Under his leadership, Lake Region State College has developed innovative models for distance delivery of degree programs.

Darling received his PhD in Education from North Dakota State University in 2012 and Master of Science in Vocational Education from the University of North Dakota in 1992.  Prior to coming to Lake Region State College as Instructional Services Vice President in 1998, Darling served as director of the Lake Area Vocational Technical Center in Devils Lake, as Continuing Education Director, Interactive Video Network Coordinator, Public Information Officer and Marketing/Management faculty at Lake Region State College.

Darling is active in many organizations both personally and professionally.  In 2016, Phi Theta Kappa awarded Doug the Shirley B. Gordon award for Community College Presidents. He currently serves as Board Chair for Forward Devils Lake Economic Development Corporation. He was named ND Career and Technical Education’s Administrator of the Year in 2011. He served on the Connect ND Executive Steering Committee from 2001-2005, the NDUS Information Technology Council, and the North Dakota University System Online Advisory Committee since 1999. In 2003 Darling attended Harvard Institutes for Higher Education, Management and Leadership in Education. He chaired the North Dakota Distance Education Strategic Advisory Committee from 1993 to 1995 and was named Young Marketing Educator of the Year Award in 1991.

Connect with Doug:

Twitter:  @Darlingd1

Facebook: Doug Darling

Instagram:  darlingd1

LinkedIn:  Doug Darling

Nov 13, 202225:43
Interview with Dr. Kevin Fleming on Redefining Professional Development with Relevance and Accessibility

Interview with Dr. Kevin Fleming on Redefining Professional Development with Relevance and Accessibility

Dr. Kevin Fleming is a CTE administrator, keynote speaker, CEO of Catapult, and author. He has dedicated over 20 years to advancing the dialogue around eliminating the skills gap and helping students secure a competitive advantage upon graduation.

He has produced multiple viral animation videos, including Success in the New Economy, and he has written four books, including the educational bestseller, (Re)Defining the Goal and the CTE children’s book, There’s a Hat for That!

Dr. Fleming has secured and managed over $80 Million in grants to advance economic & educational opportunities within the community college system having served as a business faculty member, CTE Dean, Workforce Development Vice President, and most recently as Vice President of Planning & Development. He currently serves as the Chief Innovation & Engagement Officer for the Los Angeles Regional Consortium, supporting 19 community college CTE Deans and their programs so that all learners can equip their purpose on purpose.

A few notes:

He has been the keynote speaker at Best Practices, Vision, and the ACTE Work Based Learning Conference. He has traveled to 38 states speaking and coaching in support of CTE His 4th book will be published in early October He is a member of ACTE PACE’s division  and WBL division, and ACTE’s “Coalition for Workforce Development Through CTE” He serves as a mentor within the ACTE Next Level Fellows program

Additional Information:

Founder & CEO, Catapult

Vice President, Planning & Development, Norco College

Author of (Re)Defining the Goal and There’s A Hat For That!

Change Agent & Philomath,

Sep 25, 202249:30
Sylvester Chisom's journey in CTE

Sylvester Chisom's journey in CTE

Sylvester is the CEO and founder of Global CTE, an online career and technical education publishing company. He is responsible for developing strategic partnerships with school districts and colleges to provide digital curriculum and books that serve over 50,000 students in over 600 school districts across the country.

Sylvester keeps a busy schedule traveling the world as a keynote speaker and consultant for fortune 500 companies like Fedex and Enterprise; Organizations like NBMBAA; US government agencies like the SBA and US Embassy; and internationally with ministries of education in Brazil and Costa Rica. He is also the author of four books on entrepreneurship and mindset including the one from his TED Talk, "Manifest Greatness, How To Live Without Limits."

From starting his first company at the age of 17 with only a water hose, a bucket, and a dream Sylvester has garnered over 20 years of entrepreneurial and business experience. His ideas on business innovation and his companies have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, INC., Steve Harvey and more. Sylvester's inspiring personal stories and helpful strategies have reached more than a million business leaders, students and entrepreneurs across the globe.

About Sylvester 

Sylvester's TED Talk on his journey in CTE

Global CTE Podcast 

Popular Youth Entrepreneurship Curriculum

Sep 07, 202227:04
Mission Critical: Construction and Women in the Workforce

Mission Critical: Construction and Women in the Workforce

Bonnie Brown and Krystal Atcheson are amongst the 14% of female construction professionals. In this episode of the NCLA podcast, Bonnie and Krystal share their journey at the Whiting-Turner Construction company and discuss misconceptions around gender-specific roles and how CTE programs can encourage more females to enroll in non-traditional programs and pursue careers in the construction industry. Learn more about Whiting-Turner here:

Aug 25, 202215:49
Breaking Barriers: How PTECH schools create a Pathway from School, to College, to Career and the global PTECH program
Aug 23, 202241:25
Creating a Learner-centered, Experiential, Equitable Ecosystem with Maureen O’Shaughnessy

Creating a Learner-centered, Experiential, Equitable Ecosystem with Maureen O’Shaughnessy

Jul 28, 202214:46
Leveraging Student Identity, Culture, and Power to Unlock Excellence with Colin Seale

Leveraging Student Identity, Culture, and Power to Unlock Excellence with Colin Seale

Colin Seale was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, where struggles in his upbringing gave birth to his passion for educational equity. Tracked early into gifted and talented programs, Colin was afforded opportunities his neighborhood peers were not. Using lessons from his experience as a math teacher, later as an attorney, and now as a keynote speaker, contributor to Forbes, The 74, Edutopia and Education Post and author of Thinking Like a Lawyer: A Framework for Teaching Critical Thinking to All Students (Prufrock Press, 2020) and Tangible Equity: A Guide for Leveraging Student Identity, Culture, and Power to Unlock Excellence In and Beyond the Classroom (Routledge, May 2022), Colin founded thinkLaw (, a multi-award-winning organization to help educators leverage inquiry-based instructional strategies to close the critical thinking gap and ensure they teach and reach all students, regardless of race, zip code or what side of the poverty line they are born into. When he’s not serving as the world’s most fervent critical thinking advocate or tweeting from @ColinESeale, Colin proudly serves as the world’s greatest entertainer to his two young children.


Twitter: (@ColinESeale) (@thinkLawUS)



https: (@thinkLawUS)



Thinking Like a Lawyer: A Framework for Teaching Critical Thinking to All Students

Amazon - Thinking Like a Lawyer: Seale, Colin: 9781646320073: Books

Tangible Equity: A guide for Leveraging Student Identity, Culture, and Power to Unlock Excellence In and Beyond the Classroom

Tangible Equity: A Guide for Leveraging Student Identity, Culture, and Power to Unlock Excellence In and Beyond the Classroom: Seale, Colin: 9781032161785: Books
Jul 28, 202244:60
Going Back to Your Community with Dr. Larry Martinez
Jul 23, 202234:16
Understanding the Return on Investment for Business Partners when Working with Local School Districts, with Jim Michlig
Jul 14, 202240:32
Fundraising, Programming, and Stakeholder Support with NCLA Board Member, Eric Ripley

Fundraising, Programming, and Stakeholder Support with NCLA Board Member, Eric Ripley

“The willingness of NCLA members to share their best practices and their willingness to host visitation teams was the launching pad for our grant application. It allowed us to visualize what it could be for us in our region. Seeing high-quality CTE centers in other areas across the nation was a very important step in getting our application developed and approved.” Eric Ripley

Eric Ripley has 23 years of professional experience in Career and Technical Education (CTE) including his current roles as the Executive Director of CTE & Technology for the Grand Forks Public Schools (North Dakota) and CTE Director of the virtual Grand Forks Area Career & Technology Center. A graduate of the University of North Dakota, Eric’s educational background includes a Bachelor's Degree in Business Education and a Master's Degree in Career & Technical Education/Educational Leadership. Before his current administrative positions, Eric taught as a middle school CTE computer teacher and high school information technology instructor.

As a proud CTE Advocate, Eric was elected to serve on the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE) national board as the Administration Division Vice President. Eric previously has served as the President of NCLA, President of the North Dakota Association for Career & Technical Education (NDACTE), and on the ACTE Region V Policy Committee.  Eric is passionate about the importance of Career and Technical Education within public education and expanding opportunities for all students to partake in CTE. Eric is married to Sadie, and has three sons, Toby, Grady, and Ethan.

Jun 27, 202219:29
Transformational School Leadership with Ohio ACTE Administrator of the Year, Dr. William Sprankles

Transformational School Leadership with Ohio ACTE Administrator of the Year, Dr. William Sprankles

Dr. William Sprankles currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent of Innovation, Teaching & Learning for Butler Technology Career & Development Campuses just north of Cincinnati, Ohio.  William oversees the instructional culture for Butler Tech’s 4 campuses, 11 associate school districts, and over 250 teachers. He collaborates with others to lead the district with strategic planning, development of coaching and instructional models, strategic resourcing, and emerging best practices. Prior to Butler Tech, Sprankles served as Executive Coach and Partnership Manager for the Center for Transformative Teacher Training (CT3), where he worked with school districts in major cities providing strategic guidance on strengthening school culture, leadership, classroom management, and teaching methods. He previously served as Executive Director of Teaching and Learning at Princeton City Schools, where he oversaw comprehensive school improvement processes for more than 300 educators and 3,000 students. This includes de-tracking and desegregation efforts of students in the mainstream curriculum, resulting in a 98% graduation rate for all students in one of Ohio’s most diverse school districts. Prior to earning his EdD from Miami University in April of 2021, Sprankles earned his bachelor’s degree in English education at Northern Kentucky University and his master’s in Educational Leadership at Xavier University. In 2010, the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission presented him with the Merlin G. Pope, Jr. Diversity Leadership Award.

Connect with William and read some of his published works: 




Recruiting A Better Teacher: Unexpected Candidate Qualities
Association of California School Administrators
Leadership Magazine
January / February 2017 V46 No.3

Behaviors for Transformational School Leadership

How to Build Relationships Quickly
ASCD Express, 2018

May 30, 202234:31
Refocus on the Skilled Trades to Reduce the Critical Skills Gap in a Post-Pandemic World with Dr. Michael Herrera

Refocus on the Skilled Trades to Reduce the Critical Skills Gap in a Post-Pandemic World with Dr. Michael Herrera

May 22, 202229:15
Collaboration for Success: Arizona’s Administrators Working Together for High-Quality CTE

Collaboration for Success: Arizona’s Administrators Working Together for High-Quality CTE

There are so many best practices featured in this podcast! Spoiler alert: the best is saved for last so be sure to listen all of the way through and catch the bonus tips at the end! 

ACOVA, Arizona’s CTE Administrator’s professional organization, supports data-driven decision making and provides support through innovative means for district and regional CTE Administrators. This episode explains the organization’s role in statewide collective efficacy, data-driven training, and mentoring for CTE Administrators. Learn more here: and follow ACOVA on Twitter: @acovacte

This episode features Anne Dozeman-Wisener and Joel Wakefield: 

Anne Dozeman-Wisener is the Director of Career and Technical Education for the Agua Fria Union High School District in Avondale, Arizona. Since 2014 she has overseen the completion of federal, state, and local grants, plus CTE grant management and CTE curriculum coordination for five AFUHSD schools. Under Anne's tenure at AFUHSD, the CTE department has grown to 48 educators, teaching 17 distinct CTE Programs.
With a Masters in Educational Administration from Northern Arizona University, Anne has dedicated the past 30 years to public education, 17 of which were spent in the classroom. She received FBLA's Administrator of the Year Award in 2019 and, after three years as a member of ACOVA's Board, will serve as 2022 Board President. As a national and regional CTE advocate and workshop leader, Anne continues to champion the professional development of fellow educators and their students.

Joel Wakefield has his Masters in Educational Leadership from Arizona State University. He has worked in public education for 30 years, teaching both elementary and high school. He spent over 20 years as an Athletic Trainer for various high schools and in professional baseball and football. He has been an instructional coach and a high school principal. Currently, he serves as the Director of Professional Development at West-MEC. He is passionate about international education; spending time traveling to South America to provide training for teachers, as well as hosting many foreign students and teachers. When he is not working he can be found doing CrossFit, drinking coffee, or working in the yard. He is married with two children and two beautiful twin granddaughters. 

May 08, 202236:27
Promoting and Showcasing Your Students on Social Media with Khristen Massic

Promoting and Showcasing Your Students on Social Media with Khristen Massic

Khristen Massic @khristenmassic

Let’s face it, you need to feature your CTE program. Your program is not naturally getting featured on the internet or social media. In my school district, sports dominate school websites and social media. Every once in a while, there will be an academic feature, but I rarely see something about CTE.

Why is this?

Your school social media manager is always looking for content. I’m in a group right now with over 350 school social media managers across the United States. The group admin asked what was the biggest challenge we were facing and over 50% said it was getting content.

So, from a school social media manager’s perspective, sports stories are easy content. The events happen often, so if they have nothing else, that’s what gets posted.

This needs to change! The majority of our programs and students are not getting seen or featured. Many parents in our communities don’t even know we exist.

Have you heard of the Rule of 7? It’s a marketing term that says that someone will need to see or hear about your “offer” seven times before they’ll buy.

Some are saying now that it can take up to 10 views for an ad to become a conversion. That means we need to be getting our programs out in the digital space more than ever.

But, when you’re already busy prepping and teaching classes, social media can seem like one more thing. One more thing that looks like a lot of work and time that you don’t have. Read more here

May 03, 202218:06
Introducing Opportunity with CTE in Middle School

Introducing Opportunity with CTE in Middle School

As many college-age students will explain, when they reach their later years of high school, teachers, advisors, and counselors begin introducing them to possible career paths. This type of preparation serves as an introduction to the typical four-year college experience, which seems to be the mainstream expectation for planning after high school. The issue with this limited approach to career prep is that it gives students a narrow view of the opportunities that lie ahead of them, which is an injustice to students, as well as a variety of industries.

All students deserve to be exposed to possible careers at a young age. If they are only given that guidance just before graduating high school, their understanding of their own potential stays far below what they deserve. That is why my mission is to introduce Career and Technical Education to middle school students, while they still have years to discover their interests and skills. CTE opens up pathways that standard college and career preparation do not.

As many experts in the trades will explain, if students are not introduced to CTE curriculum until they are preparing for college, it might already be too late for them to legitimately consider all the career paths available to them. Middle school, which already marks a turning point in the educational experience of students, proves to be the optimal moment for CTE to be integrated into schools’ academic offerings.... Click here to continue reading.

About today's guest: 

Mike Schloff founded Maplewoodshop in 2016 to help all children develop life skills through woodworking with hand tools. Mike has been woodworking since 2004 when he moved into his first home and needed to tackle repairs. He invented the workstation that Maplewoodshop uses after building several generations of woodworking tables and fixtures for teaching children and adults. He is a lifelong tinkerer and still teaches locally to try out new lesson plans. Prior to Maplewoodshop, Mike was a pioneer in the Internet space, helping people and companies take advantage of this new medium since 1995. In his spare time, Mike likes to work with local wind fall trees making tables, benches, and all sorts of creations that let the natural grain and forms determine the design of the finished project.

Contact Information:

Instagram @Maplewoodshop

Facebook @MaplewoodshopNJ

Twitter @MaplewoodshopNJ

Linkedin @MaplewoodshopNJ


Apr 14, 202228:36
Building Connections in CTE and Beyond with Aaron Polansky
Apr 01, 202224:22
Teaching and Learning in a Gradeless Thinking Classroom with Graeme Lachance

Teaching and Learning in a Gradeless Thinking Classroom with Graeme Lachance

When I was asked to teach grade 7 math for the first time, I had been working as a special education teacher for a few years, teaching at both the elementary and secondary level. Like anyone would do given a new position, I reached out to the people I would be working with and let them know that I would happily take anything and everything that they could provide. I was lucky. The whole curriculum was mapped out by week, assessments had already been made, many slide decks of notes created. This was a dream come true and meant that I could focus on my classroom management, delivery, and developing student relationships and trust. I had been teaching for five years at that point, and had taught students from age 5 to 18, so I was comfortable at the front of the classroom. But I became bored quickly, and it was evident that the students were too. 

It was no shock to me, then, that the traditional way of teaching math was not working for me or my students. The course was laid out by unit, each day planned a month or more in advance and divided by topic. Lessons were structured the same way, every day: Bell ringer problem, correction, 10-20 minute mini-lesson, students take notes on the algorithmic way for solving problems that I wanted them to use, then workbook practice completing upward of 20 different versions of the same question, then if there was time, correction. Rinse and repeat. This Groundhog Day approach to math might be dependable, but it is not inspiring, fun, or challenging.

I branched out. Having changed teaching positions so often, I was always one look to current trends and research to inform my practice. A quick search for math education brought me to first to Peter Liljedahl. Dr. Liljedahl is a math education researcher out of the University of British Columbia, Canada, who has been studying math education for decades. He experienced the same feelings toward the traditional way of teaching math as I had, knowing full well that it was not working. He analyzed what was not working, tested changes, published his findings, and recently released the influential book Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics: 14 Teaching Practices for Enhancing Learning. Prior to the release of his book, however, his research introduced me to rich tasks, where the object isn’t about completing slight variations of the same question ad nauseum, but about presenting students with situations or challenges with layers of complexity. This encourages curiosity, autonomy, and playing with strategies and mistakes. 

Searching for these kinds of tasks led me to Twitter and the amazing math teacher community there. I learned about the work of Jo Boaler, who I’ve since taken two of her online Stanford courses from... Continue Reading Here

Bio: Graeme is a teacher from Wakefield, Quebec who is constantly questioning assumptions about the education system. He grew up in Montreal, Canada, and completed his Bachelor of Education at McGill University in 2010. From there, his twelve-year career in education has brought diverse teaching experiences, taking him as far as Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to Hull, Quebec. Graeme is principally motivated by bringing about a more human way to learn through grassroots changes to classes, schools, and beyond and providing young people opportunities to develop agency and autonomy. He brings forth approaches backed by research. This year, inspired by the work of Dr. Peter Liljedahl and Dr. Jo Boaler, he has endeavored to introduce a math classroom without grades that prioritize deep thinking instead of rote memorization or blindly following teacher instruction. Twitter: @livingpedagogy

Mar 17, 202225:15
Innovative Practices in Career and Technical Education with Doug Merrill

Innovative Practices in Career and Technical Education with Doug Merrill

Doug Merrill has been teaching Engineering Related classes at Wenatchee HS since 1989. Design and build is the core focus of his pre-engineering curriculum and creating unique experiences keep things fun for him and his learners. His newest class: Ski Design and Adaptive Play allow kids to design and build skis and snowboards along with hacking electronic toys and electric ride-on cars for special needs students.

Next year he will be starting a new class on Turf management and athletic field maintenance, with future plans to build a Pitch and Putt golf course and Driving Range.

In 2012 His students broke a Guinness World Record when they built the world longest marble run of over 1,700 feet in the gym at Wenatchee HS. And one of his Engineering students won the Illinois Institute International Bridge building title.

He has been selected to participate in the MIT Invent Teams for students creating new inventions.

He was named “Washingtonian of the Day” by Governor Jay Enslee during a visit to Merrill’s classroom while they were making skis that the governor helped with.

Since 2018 Merrill has been on a state-wide mission to work with high school students and district PT’s and OT’s to adapt electric ride-on cars for children with special needs. He currently is mentoring teachers in over 10 school districts in Washington with their own Go Baby Go! Projects. This venture has broadened to small electronic toys as more children can be impacted on a much smaller budget.

He has served as President of the Washington Industrial Technology Educators Association and is currently the Past-President of the Washington Association of Career and Technical Education.

He received a Region V Innovative CTE Classroom Award in 2019 and currently serves on the Region V Membership and Marketing Committee.

In May of 2021, he became a Certified Trainer for the 6 Types of Working Genius, an assessment developed by Patrick Lencioni (5 dysfunctions of a Team and The Ideal Team Player) to help people find their Working Geniuses. He runs two-hour trainings to help teams address their strengths and weaknesses while reducing team toxicity.

In September 2021 he received the Legacy Award from the North Central Washington Tech Alliance for his years of service in STEM education.

He has been the Head Girls Golf Coach since 1994.

His favorite classroom activity is still making custom animal pancakes for his young engineers. Porcupines and Jellyfish are his favorites.

Mar 14, 202223:55
Transformative Learning Initiatives with John Turcic and Lindsey Balderaz
Mar 10, 202232:20
Defining the Needle in Order to Move Forward with the Great Oaks Leadership Team

Defining the Needle in Order to Move Forward with the Great Oaks Leadership Team

Tune in to this episode to discover how to overcome the challenge of a "that's the way we have always done it" culture while pursuing what's best for students. Great Oaks Career Campuses increases flexibility in its offerings and delivery while expanding access through remodeling physical spaces and adjusting to on-campus, satellite, and adult ed programming. Simultaneously, they are adopting new strategies for enrollment and marketing. 

Excerpts from this episode: 

"We are guilty of trying to solve a problem before we define the problem or trying to improve something before laying out the target. What needle are we trying to move and what are we trying to accomplish? This helps to get everyone on board.

We have to ask ourselves this: Are we successful enough or can we get a little bit better? How can we get really good at what we are doing?

Define very clearly what it is that you are trying to do and take the time to get the buy-in for that before moving it forward and you’ll have a lot better chance of success that way. It seems very obvious but we, like a lot of people, are guilty of rushing or skipping that step altogether."

"It takes work to make changes. Covid forced us out of complacency and to try new things that we wouldn't have tried otherwise. If it works, that's great. If it doesn't, you are still learning and improving. If it's moving you, it's progress."

"As you’re trying new things and putting new initiatives in place, don’t forget about the climate and culture aspect, especially at the ground level- the instructors along with students- when you are asking them to do something different or to make a change. Be cognizant of the climate and emotional side rather than giving a plan and saying here is what we are going to do."

"Take the training to them. Provide it in-house."

"As our demographics get younger and younger we have to improve our instructional techniques also."

Hear from Great Oak leaders: 

Dan Cox is the Director of Business Operations at Great Oaks Career Campuses, currently overseeing over $80 million in construction and renovations at four campuses.  Dan has served as the Director of Teaching and Learning for Great Oaks and as Dean of the Live Oaks Career Campus.

Sarah Taylor is a Career Exploration Specialist at Great Oaks, helping to expand work-based learning at the district as well as assisting partner school districts in developing career exploration activities.  Sarah was previously a Career Specialist; in that role, she recruited, enrolled, and advised high school students into Great Oaks career programs.

Joel King is Director of Teaching and Learning for Great Oaks Career Campuses. He oversees curriculum development, new programming, professional development, and content delivery for the district.  He was previously an administrator at the Warren County (OH) Career Center.

Ted Kirkpatrick is Great Oaks’ Dean of Satellite Programs.  He oversees more than 20,000 students in 90 satellite programs at 29 partner school districts; under his guidance, the district has nearly doubled the number of satellite programs offered.  He was previously a curriculum coordinator for Great Oaks.

Andy Hoekzema is Director of Adult Workforce Development.  In his role, he oversees full- and part-time programming for adults, including ESOL, high school equivalency, personal enrichment classes, Police Academy, Fire Academy, full-time career programs, short-term certification classes, and customized training for business.  He has also been an Assistant Dean for Satellite Programs for Great Oaks.

Connect with today's guests here:

Feb 21, 202253:29
It Takes A Village To Improve Student and Workforce Outcomes with guest, Cheryl Carrier at FordNGL

It Takes A Village To Improve Student and Workforce Outcomes with guest, Cheryl Carrier at FordNGL


Cheryl Carrier, Executive Director, Ford Next Generation Learning

We have all heard the saying, “It takes a village.” Nowhere is that phrase more applicable than in the case of educating and preparing our young people for success in college, career, and life. If you are an educator, you know just how critical and monumental an undertaking that is. To get the results we are all looking for, it does indeed “take a village.” To continue reading, click here.

Cheryl Carrier’s Bio

Cheryl Carrier is the Executive Director of Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL), the signature education program of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services.

Cheryl leads the team responsible for developing and managing the innovative Ford NGL program, which is designed to engage educators, employers, and community leaders in the common goal of preparing today’s high school students for the careers of tomorrow. Through community engagement, Ford NGL provides a proven framework to develop high school academies that are career-themed and provide students with opportunities to engage in relevant, academically rigorous, authentic learning opportunities with local employers – thus improving student and workforce outcomes and increasing community prosperity.

Currently, there are 45+ communities across the country and in the United Kingdom that are using the Ford NGL framework and roadmap.   Cheryl works closely with business executives, government/civic leaders, and economic development and workforce development intermediaries to help align education with the skills needed by companies and the local region.

Cheryl joined Ford in 1978 and has held positions in Engineering, Finance, Business Strategy, and Investor Relations. Cheryl assisted Ford Executive Chairman William Clay Ford, Jr., for many years, including a special assignment with the Detroit Lions, as the Human Resource Director, where she was responsible for developing human resource policy.  Cheryl retired from Ford on December 31, 2013 and has continued as the Executive Director of Ford NGL, working closely with Ford Motor Company Fund.

Cheryl is the Chair of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) 21st Century Workforce Council.  She has also taken the lead on growing the Career Academy Section of ACTE and is co-lead on ACTE and Ford NGL Workforce Development through CTE Coalition.  She resides with her husband in Petoskey, MI.

Contact Info:
Phone:  586.197.1814
Twitter:  @CherylMCarrier

Social Media Handles for Ford NGL:

Twitter: @FordNGL LinkedIn: Facebook: @FordNGL Medium: @FordNGL

Website: and

Feb 16, 202239:31
Randy Squier shares readiness for career, life and college and how CTE pathways are supporting all students to be ready

Randy Squier shares readiness for career, life and college and how CTE pathways are supporting all students to be ready

Highlights from this episode: 

"We want all of our students to be exemplary communicators, collaborators, critical and creative thinkers, and to be able to self-direct their learning in any setting."

"The diploma means more than a diploma, it means they are ready for their life, they are ready for their career, and they are ready for post-secondary if they choose to go to college."

"It’s important for school leaders to always be asking, 'What is next? What’s down the road? What do we have to make sure that kids are ready for?'”

Randy Squier is currently the superintendent of schools for Coxsackie-Athens Central Schools which are located 20 miles south of Albany, NY on the Hudson River.  Randy is in his eleventh year at C-A and 17th as a superintendent, previously serving Oxford Central Schools for six years.  He has presented regionally, statewide, and nationally on topics that have a foundation in professional learning communities and innovative schools. C-A was ranked 1st in the nation in 2018 by the National School Boards Association for its digital conversion that includes providing mobile devices for every student since 2015, a robust digital badge program, and shifting most back-office storage functions to the cloud. For the last nine years, Coxsackie-Athens’ graduation rate is 16% higher than the previous eight years. The district was one of three schools recognized nationally by ISTE for its digital badge program.  Randy was a Tech & Learning Magazine runner-up for 2017 digital leaders.

current pathway

Feb 14, 202221:25
Breaking Barriers through a Community Approach with Jessica Golden and Peter Kelpin

Breaking Barriers through a Community Approach with Jessica Golden and Peter Kelpin

Today's Podcasts guests are Jessica Golden, Senior Director, K12 District Partnerships and Peter Kelpin, Director, K-12 District Marketing. 

The educational journey includes so much more than traditional academic subjects. When young people learn about real-world skills in school, they’re equipped with the tools they need to navigate life’s daily challenges and set in motion skills that will propel them towards a successful future.

District administrators work tirelessly to provide resources that empower teachers to develop critical life skills in their students. Used by more than 7,500 districts, EVERFI provides free online programs to teach critical skills in the areas of mental health, financial literacy, health and wellness, STEM, career readiness, and more.

How does EVERFI work with districts?

Created by content experts and paid for by leading organizations passionate about education, all 100+ EVERFI lessons help teachers meet their standards while providing students with the critical skills needed to be successful in life.

EVERFI provides a host of no-cost services to districts ensuring that district learning goals are being achieved through the use of EVERFI’s platform. Districts are provided with an Implementation Specialist whose primary responsibility is to ensure that administrators have everything necessary to:

Make an informed decision about partnering with EVERFI Align resources to curriculum and district goals Plan and create successful implementation plans Train and motivate teachers to effectively teach the whole child Leverage platform data to achieve desired outcomes

Impact Reports

Biannually, EVERFI provides Districts across North America with a robust Impact Report. The Impact Report, available to Districts at no cost, shares in-depth data around usage of EVERFI resources in the District, inclusive of student learning insights, attitudinal and behavioral changes of students, and aggregated school and teacher usage data to plan for growth with EVERFI resources. EVERFI Implementation Specialists and District Implementation Leads work with District leaders to review the report and build strategic implementation plans. Click here to continue reading.

Feb 07, 202225:26
The Changing Role of CTE with Amy Boscan

The Changing Role of CTE with Amy Boscan

Amy currently serves as the Coordinator of Career & Technical Education, World Languages, and Global Studies for the Parkway School District in St. Louis, MO.   As a professional developer, Amy focuses on the systemic and sustainable integration of “how do we do school differently” in order to prepare students for a global society and an ever-changing world.  Her work encompasses creating authentic solutions to meet the needs of all students with rigorous and relevant learning experiences.  In that work, she is exploring choice options for students, experiential learning, virtual course offerings, and global-ready academic programs.  Through community partnerships and establishing global competence as an organic and sustained focus, Amy is building a culture for this work in Parkway through partnerships with The Asia Society, The Stevens Initiative, The Longview Foundation, K12 Global Forum, and ASCD.

Jan 21, 202219:07
Keeping CTE Teachers in the Classroom with Jodi Adams, Director of the New Teacher Institute

Keeping CTE Teachers in the Classroom with Jodi Adams, Director of the New Teacher Institute

A quick search on Google Scholar will show research is deep and wide when it comes to retaining teachers, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers are no different. In fact, retention of CTE teachers may have a more profound importance - high school teacher turnover impacts CTE programs due to the dependence on relational connections that motivate a student to continue taking CTE courses. While retention of CTE teachers is vital to the continued success of a pathway, CTE teachers often have options outside of teaching, making it easier for the teacher to transition out of the classroom. In fact, CTE teachers typically have high levels of skill in the career field in which they are teaching, which gives them the ability to transition back to business and industry at any point. Connections with business and industry through advisory committees ensure a continued relationship with the industry the teacher left, keeping the option open to leave at any time. Furthermore, the average occupation-based certified (OCB) teacher applying for certification in Kentucky has worked in their field an average of ten years or more, which often means he or she is taking a reduction in salary to transition into the classroom. In addition to the salary differential, OCB teachers begin teaching with very little, if any, pre-service training and are expected to meet and exceed educational expectations immediately, with responsibilities above and beyond most teachers, including advising students participating in Career and Technical Student Organization chapters, maintaining effective advisory committees, and recruiting of students into their pathways. 

Until recently, regardless of prior education, OCB teachers were also required to complete a 64-hour planned program with one of five participating universities. This included courses in teaching CTE, as well as completing a rigorous internship program in their first year of teaching... 

Continue reading here:

Additional article:

Jodi Adams is the Director of the New Teacher Institute, the Kentucky Department of Education certification program for occupation-based career and technical education teachers, as well as a Clinical Instructor for the University of Louisville Department of Educational Leadership, Evaluation, and Organizational Development. Prior to joining the university, Jodi served as Career Pathways Branch Manager in the Kentucky Department of Education Office of Career and Technical Education. Before moving to the state department of education, Jodi taught business in Jefferson County Public Schools, the largest school district in Kentucky, and started a nationally recognized business program at Eastern High School, where she was instrumental in developing dual credit opportunities and work-based learning experiences. Prior to secondary education, Jodi worked in postsecondary recruitment and admissions for adult education programs and taught as an adjunct instructor for a community college and two universities. Her experience owning and operating a large retail store, as well as working in customer service and marketing for a Fortune 100 company, have shaped her approach to education.

Jodi Adam's Contact Info:

Twitter: @jodicoffeeadams



Jan 01, 202238:53
CTE in a Changing World with Harry Snyder, President/CEO of Great Oaks Career Campuses

CTE in a Changing World with Harry Snyder, President/CEO of Great Oaks Career Campuses

For more than two decades Harry Snyder, President and CEO (Superintendent) of Great Oaks Career Campuses, has been committed to ensuring that youth and adults are prepared with the competitive skills necessary for economic growth. Because he understands that this means business and education working together, he has become a major voice in workforce training.

In 2014, the Great Oaks Board of Directors named Harry its fifth President and CEO. He is responsible for four campuses and career technical training for over 20,000 youth and 15,000 adults from 36 partnering school districts. Great Oaks is one of the largest career-technical school districts in the country, covering over 2,100 square miles in southwest Ohio.

Great Oaks has been named a Cincinnati Enquirer Top Workplace for 8+ years. Harry has been acknowledged multiple times as a Cincy Magazine Power 100 recipient.

He continues to hold many leadership roles in both professional and community organizations.  Presently serving on Boards of Learn 21, High Aims, Christian Benevolent Association, Ohio Association of Career Tech Superintendents, Clermont County Chamber of Commerce, Clermont UC Advisory, and the FFA Agriculture Education Foundation.

Harry holds a Master’s Degree in Vocational Education from Wright State University and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from the University of Cincinnati.

Harry has resided in Southwest Ohio his entire life. Presently he resides outside of Batavia with his wife Janet, he has two daughters and one son.

Contact info:  Harry Snyder,, 513-612-3646

Dec 02, 202130:46
Building Systematic Approaches to Streamline CTE with Jim Michlig, Director of Muskego Norway School District's CONNECT Academy
Nov 15, 202126:02
Steve Ward: Helping Other's Find Their Purpose through Dreamcatcher

Steve Ward: Helping Other's Find Their Purpose through Dreamcatcher


Engaging Educational Leaders and Students by bringing the conversation of personal Purpose into the classroom to:

intrinsically motivate adolescents and young adults in their education; inspire youth to examine their skills and interests to drive academic decisions; level the playing field to increase equality among youth of different abilities, ethnicities, cultures, social, and economic backgrounds; introduce Aspirational Dataä providing teachers, counselors, social workers, and parents the insights to further guide their students; encourage people to pursue fulfilling careers by design, rather than by debt.

One of the most important contributions Steve Ward makes to the discussion of Purpose-Driven Education is that most people wish to “help other people” with their profession when asked what they wish to do for a career. This innate drive stems from a universal desire to give and show love, and connect with others in a meaningful way. How we give and show love and connect with others is as unique as our individual fingerprints.

Sep 27, 202132:42
Work Ethic Development with Josh Davies

Work Ethic Development with Josh Davies

Josh Davies is passionate about helping others make a difference in their lives, jobs, and community. Through his work as a speaker and trainer, he has engaged and encouraged professionals across North America, the Middle East, and Asia. His engaging and connecting speaking style combined with relevant content make him an in-demand speaker, giving more than 75 keynote presentations and workshops to education, workforce, and corporate events annually. Mr. Davies has been named by the Global Forum for Education and Learning as one of 2021’s Top 100 Visionaries in Education in recognition for his contributions to education globally. Additionally, Training Magazine named him as one of the 2021’s Top 100 Visionaries in Education in recognition for his contributions to education globally. Additionally, Training Magazine named him as one of the top 10 trainers under 40 in America and the Denver Business Journal tapped him as one of Denver’s 40 Under 40.

Davies is currently the CEO of The Center for Work Ethic Development, an organization committed to developing workplace skills in the global workforce. Partnering with organizations in all 50 states and 6 countries, they equip trainers and teachers to build the workforce of the 21st Century. A graduate of American University, Josh has been awarded the Mile High Energy Award by Visit Denver, and an honorary Doctorate of Foodservice by the North American Food Equipment Manufacturers Association for his contributions to the industry. He finished serving his second term on the Executive Board of the Colorado Workforce Development Council, where he chaired the State Education and Training Steering Committee. He also led the P-Tech Selection Committee for Colorado and served on the board of the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative. In addition to his work in the public sector, Josh also served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals, was President of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART) and co-chaired the Colorado State Youth Council.

Aug 10, 202136:59
Best Practices in CTE in Amarillo, Texas with Jay L. Barrett: A Vision for the Future

Best Practices in CTE in Amarillo, Texas with Jay L. Barrett: A Vision for the Future

This past June, Jay became the principal of AmTech Career Academy in Amarillo, Texas, a $60 million renovation of an old Sears/Hastings facility. Tune in to hear about the inception story for this center and his vision for the future of Career and Technical Education in this community. 

Take a virtual tour of the campus here:

Find out more about Jay's background and experiences in education and CTE below.

Educational Career

Jay has 36 total years of experience in public education.
He has been a principal at all levels in Amarillo ISD in Amarillo, Texas for 26 of those years.
Principalships include:
Amarillo Area Center for Advanced Learning (AACAL), a STEM/CTE campus (2008-2021)
Travis Middle School (2000-2008)
Forest Hill Elementary School (1995-2000)
Other administrative work:
Associate Principal, Palo Duro High School in Amarillo, Texas (1993-1995)
Assistant Principal, Tascosa High School in Amarillo, Texas (1991-1993)
Before becoming an administrator, Jay taught English and coached tennis at Pampa High School in Pampa, Texas (1985-1991)
Jay began his career in education by doing his student teaching in Rota, Spain, through the Department of Defense Dependents program.
While at AACAL, Jay co-founded Gateway to Health Careers, a regional program that now trains over 600 students annually in 27 high schools in the 26,000 square miles of the rural panhandle of Texas. Recent Awards 2019 HEB North Texas Secondary Principal of the Year
2019 Elbert K Fretwell Outstanding Educator of the year by the Golden Spread Council of Boy Scouts Community Involvement Deacon, First Baptist Church
Amarillo College Regent, Secretary of the Board of Regents
Secretary, Community College Association of Texas Trustees Board of Directors
Panhandle PBS Board of Directors
Amarillo College Foundation Board of Directors
Chamber of Commerce Governmental Advisory Council
Amarillo Police Training Advisory Board
WT Enterprise Center Board of Directors
Panhandle Workforce Development Board of Directors, Executive Committee
Amarillo Technology Initiative Board of Directors
Golden Spread Council, Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors
Maverick Boys' and Girls' Clubs in Amarillo Board of Directors
Jul 28, 202145:41
(Re)Defining the Goal with Purpose-Driven Education- Interview with Dr. Kevin Fleming

(Re)Defining the Goal with Purpose-Driven Education- Interview with Dr. Kevin Fleming

In this episode of the NCLA podcast, Rachael Mann is joined by Dr. Kevin J Fleming to discuss purpose-driven education. Dr. Fleming is an educator, national speaker, entrepreneur, and author. He is the producer of multiple, viral animation videos including Success in the New Economy, author of the educational bestseller, (Re)Defining the Goal, and currently Vice President of Planning and Development at Norco College in Southern California. Dr. Fleming is a passionate advocate for ensuring all students intentionally equip their potential, enter the labor market with a competitive advantage, and find their purpose, on purpose. 

"The process of occupational exploration, choosing a college major, and one’s initial career identification is too frequently haphazard and unintentional.  Most teens have no ideas what they plan to do with their life after 12th grade.  I certainly didn’t know what I wanted to do, except continue to go to school!  As a community college Vice President, I even hear from my college graduates - as recent as this spring - that they still have no idea what they will do after transferring, or what they plan to do after earning their 4-year degree.  Our current educational system has created widespread confusion.  This confusion then translates into high anxiety and directionless professional meandering.  Students end up taking “the wrong courses” while in college, and many change their major an exorbitant number of times, graduating with too many unnecessary units.  The result is too frequently the phrase, “I’ll figure it out later.”  Well, it’s later." Click here to continue reading Dr. Kevin's Blog Post.

Get your copy of (Re)Defining the Goal to help advance your student’s career readiness!

Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

Jul 17, 202137:53
The Career & Leadership Readiness Institute (CLRI) at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) with Guests Tiffanie Rosier and Brittany Hollis

The Career & Leadership Readiness Institute (CLRI) at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) with Guests Tiffanie Rosier and Brittany Hollis

In this episode, Rachael Mann is joined by Tiffanie Rosier and Brittany Hollis to discuss initiatives at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) including STEM and leadership opportunities for students. Learn more about the successes that are happening here:

Tiffanie Rosier is a STEM Education Coordinator for Northern Virginia Community College.  She has a Bachelor’s in Public Relations from James Madison University, a Masters in Higher Education Administration from Western Kentucky University, and holds the Global Career Development Facilitator Certification.  Tiffanie has worked in Career Services at several institutions. She is also currently a participant in the ACTE Post-Secondary Leadership Success Program for Career and Technical Education Administrators.  Brittany is the Information and Engineering Technology Career Coach for Northern Virginia Community College. She has a Bachelor’s in Biology and Teacher Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Masters in Higher Education from North Carolina State University. Brittany was a former high school science teacher before transitioning to higher education and has worked with several STEM education programs at the collegiate level. 

Brittany Hollis is the Information and Engineering Technology Career Coach for Northern Virginia Community College. She has a Bachelor’s in Biology and Teacher Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Masters in Higher Education from North Carolina State University. Brittany was a former high school science teacher before transitioning to higher education and has worked with several STEM education programs at the collegiate level.

Jun 28, 202135:00
MBA Research: The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative High School Program

MBA Research: The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative High School Program

In this episode of the NCLA Podcast, our host, Rachael Mann is joined by panelists April J. Miller, Krysti Conlin, and Charlie de Belloy to discuss the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative High School Program. To learn more about this initiative and to access the free materials, please visit

Podcast Guest Bios: 

April J. Miller, Vice President of Product Development for MBA Research & Curriculum Center, is dedicated to providing guidance and support to educators involved in the development, implementation, and evaluation of standards-based curriculum. Having led several state and national projects for MBA Research, April oversees the creation of a broad range of instructional materials and products, including LAP modules, curriculum guides, technical skill assessments, and programs of study. She represents MBA Research at national-, state- and local-level conferences and workshops and has had multiple articles published in ACTE’s Techniques magazine.

Krysti Conlin: Business & Marketing Teacher at Whitley County High School for 26 years.
Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree, and Rank I from Cumberland College.

President of the Kentucky Marketing Education Association

Service Area Board Member of the Kentucky Association for Career & Technical Education

Business & Marketing Leadership Team Member for the Kentucky Department of Education

Career & Technical Education Coordinator for Whitley County School District

2018 Kentucky Marketing Teacher of The Year

Charlie de Belloy is a Franco-American freshman at the Lycée Français de San Francisco. I am interested in ethics and have started a team at my school to compete at the California Ethics Bowl. I am also a part of the Marin Youth Court, which is a restorative justice alternative for youth going through the justice system. I am also doing an internship at KQED radio, the local radio station, helping to review and create pitches that go on air.

Jun 03, 202131:14
Marketing CTE Programs and Rediscovering Your Brand with Guest, Dr. Amanda Holdsworth

Marketing CTE Programs and Rediscovering Your Brand with Guest, Dr. Amanda Holdsworth

Marketing CTE Programs

Now, more than ever, parents have choices for their children’s education. During the pandemic, some families switched schools or even educational models in pursuit of what would work best for their children and for their personal situations. Many families may not return to the traditional classroom, with plans to stick with virtual or homeschooling. Others might recognize that their children need something different; something more hands-on.

And that’s where career and technical education come in.

With news surrounding the labor shortages in manufacturing and the statistics highlighting the talent gap in skilled trades, to a potential amendment of the National Apprenticeship Act and soaring higher ed costs, there is no environment as primed and ready for marketing than career and technical education.

But, where does a CTE program or school start with marketing? How can schools get industry and government partners on board with sharing their stories? And, most importantly, how can CTE centers reach the ideal students (and parents) for their programs?

Marketing Does Not Have to be Daunting

The increased competition with the pandemic has given all schools the opportunity to revisit their core mission, vision and values. Embrace the chance at re-discovering what makes your programs or school so great and then work strategically to share your stories with others.

How to Re-Discover Your Brand

To figure out who you really are as a school community, you must start with research: Click here to continue reading.

Dr. Amanda Holdsworth, APR has worked in school communications for more than 20 years and is the founder of Holdsworth Communications, a strategic branding and PR agency for schools, and the School Comms Lab, a membership community that helps schools DIY their marketing and social media activities. She is the daughter of a toolmaker, the sister of a pipefitter, and has led communications initiatives and Manufacturing Day events for career and technical education schools around the country.

Jun 01, 202134:46
A Faster Way Forward: Interview with Superintendent Greg Donovan

A Faster Way Forward: Interview with Superintendent Greg Donovan

Throughout the pandemic schools and students alike have faced unprecedented challenges. Now in 2021, as Arizona starts to revive, students are looking for the education option that best fits their needs. Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC), a local public career and technical education district, has returned to their in-person, hands-on learning model, which is necessary for the variety of programs and certifications they offer.

West-MEC operates four campuses throughout the North and West Valley which serves more than 37,000 students from 48 high schools from districts in the Phoenix Metropolitan area. West-MEC students are prepared to earn a certification and gain employment immediately after high school or apply their experiences and knowledge to their next level of traditional education.

"Today, more than ever, it’s vital that students understand the application of academics to real-world careers,” said West-MEC Superintendent Greg Donovan. “The United States is, and will be, in need of a highly trained and skilled workforce for the 21st Century. We are grateful for the opportunity to develop new and thriving educational centers where students are empowered to participate fully in the economy."

West-MEC’s focus is on the delivery of quality, comprehensive, articulated, industry-validated programs, facilities, equipment and resources that includes classroom instruction, laboratory instruction, work-based learning, and a Career and Technical Student Organization.

Continue reading here:

About West-MEC:

West-MEC is a career technical education public school district that focuses solely on innovative career and technical education (CTE) programs that prepare students to enter the workforce and pursue continuing education. West-MEC CTE programs provide students opportunities to earn college credit and industry credentials. West-MEC serves more than 37,000 students from 48 high schools, across 3,600 square miles in the northern and western cities of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. West-MEC also offers adult education programs. Visit

About Superintendent Greg Donovan: 

Greg Donovan has been the Superintendent of Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC) since its inception in 2002. Under his leadership, West-MEC now operates four campuses in northern and western cities in Maricopa County and supports career and technical education in 12 school districts.

May 18, 202152:52
Success by Design with Guests Tammy Bonner and Jennifer Brooks

Success by Design with Guests Tammy Bonner and Jennifer Brooks

In this episode of the NCLA podcast, Tammy Bonner and Jennifer Brooks share grassroots efforts to statewide consortia and current partnerships in Arizona. Our guests address best practices and strategies that CTE leaders should consider when planning for career and technical education programs in schools and districts.

Tammy Bonner is currently the Director of the Arizona CTE Curriculum Consortium. As the Director she manages the development of the AZCTECC curriculum resources and provides professional development to CTE teachers across Arizona. Before moving to Career and Technical Education at Pima JTED and then to the AZ CTE Curriculum Consortium, she began her career in the dental industry. She received her BA in Organizational Leadership through Arizona State University and is driven to advocate for CTE and help teachers succeed in their classrooms. She is currently a member of ACTE and an ACTEAZ Fellow.

Jennifer currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Arizona CTE Curriculum Consortium.  Prior to that, she was the Director of Curriculum and Instruction as well as an Instructional Specialist at West-MEC, a CTE District in the West Valley of Phoenix.  She began her career in education straight from industry teaching CTE (Business, Marketing, and Culinary Arts) for eleven years.  A former purchasing agent for a Fortune 500 Oil Company and pastry chef at Marriott,  Jennifer embraced her role as a teacher and continued to pursue education earning her Masters in Career & Technical Education in 2006.  Jennifer is a passionate advocate for quality teaching & learning and champions many initiatives at the Consortium designed to support CTE teachers and programs.  She strongly believes in the value of the CTE Delivery Model and the life-changing opportunities that CTE programs provide to students.

To learn more about these efforts and to connect with Tammy and Jennifer, visit

Apr 26, 202136:22
Entrepreneurial Education in a Virtual World
Apr 26, 202144:24
"CTE in a Virtual World" with Milton Hershey School CTE Director, Dave Curry

"CTE in a Virtual World" with Milton Hershey School CTE Director, Dave Curry

When the world turned upside down a little over a year ago, many things had to stop and pivot with it. The in-person learning and hands-on experiences that were the norm for teaching trade and vocational skills had to be reimagined factoring in physical distancing and virtual instruction. Educators had to be creative, and students had to be open to these new models, knowing that it would be worth it–and that’s exactly what happened at Milton Hershey School. As a result of the pandemic, career and technical education has become more important than ever. There is a higher demand for skilled jobs and unforeseen disruption in other career paths. The higher education landscape also shifted. It is the role of career and technical education to change with the times, teaching courses like carpentry, agriculture, design, and technology, while also providing practical skills that are marketable, adaptable, and essential.

At Milton Hershey School, a pre-K through 12th-grade residential school for children from low-income backgrounds, vocational training has been a core part of the curriculum throughout the school’s 110-year history. The Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, and its 12 career pathways, prepare students for college or career by introducing a wide range of disciplines. Beginning in elementary school, students are exposed to careers and progress through real-life experiences in and out of the classroom as part of the CTE curriculum.

While the school never closed as a result of the pandemic, the typical methods of instruction adjusted but also created opportunities for innovative lessons that address the real need for CTE. Here are some examples of how CTE teachers have tapped into different instructional methods to create unique learning opportunities for students: (Click here to continue reading:

Dave Curry is the director of career and technical education (CTE) at the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pa. He leads a program that offers 12 CTE pathways, each combining tailor-made instruction and hands-on learning with the ability to gain industry-recognized certifications and real-life experience through internships, co-ops, and pre-apprenticeships.

Apr 07, 202143:33
Balance Boundaries and Breaks with Evan Whitehead

Balance Boundaries and Breaks with Evan Whitehead

Feb 08, 202101:23:06
Panda Pilots, Harry Potter, and Doc Brown: Leading with Fun (Interview with Eddie Small)

Panda Pilots, Harry Potter, and Doc Brown: Leading with Fun (Interview with Eddie Small)

Eddie Small is a passionate leader, instructional coach, and innovative educator. His work in education and educational technology has focused on connecting teachers and students in engaging solutions and instructional design.

As a Principal Consultant with Instructure, Eddie works with educators, administrators, and district leadership in designing success for Canvas. Eddie believes in digital learning strategies that make an immediate K-12 impact.

As a former CTE Innovation Coach for Central Nine Career Center, Eddie developed several innovative solutions to educational technology in a career-based environment. He also created digital learning initiatives through their LMS with a focus on project-based learning. As a role model and resource for teachers, Eddie guided a strategy of support that allowed an individualized learning approach for CTE educator's professional development. Eddie also mentored new and seasoned educators in best practices in course design, classroom management, and district leadership.

You can find Eddie on Twitter @smallindiana.

Feb 02, 202101:02:12
Increasing Career Opportunity Awareness While Decreasing Opportunity Cost: Interview with Joe Belsterling
Jan 25, 202133:34
Credentialing Additional Language Proficiency across CTE Career Pathways with the Seal of Biliteracy (Interview with Dina R. Yoshimi)

Credentialing Additional Language Proficiency across CTE Career Pathways with the Seal of Biliteracy (Interview with Dina R. Yoshimi)

Our nation’s multilingual talent has long been one of our best-kept secrets, but it’s one we can no longer afford to keep. With our 21st century penchant for stretching supply lines, educational opportunities, production processes, collaborative research endeavors, and leisure travel around the globe, the need for proficient multilingual skills in the workforce has never been greater. Addressing this need is not merely aspirational; it is essential.  The competitiveness of American industry, the strength of our national security, the global engagement of our researchers and educators, and the equitable access to human services for limited English proficient populations all depend on our doing so.

Continue Reading Here:

Dina Rudolph Yoshimi (Ph.D., Applied Linguistics, University of Southern California) is an Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures at the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa and Director of the Hawai'i Language Roadmap Initiative (UH-Mānoa College of Arts, Languages, & Letters). Her research interests include the pragmatics of everyday language use and language use in the state’s workforce. During her tenure as Roadmap Director, she has coordinated the launch of the Hawai'i Language Roadmap and provided key leadership in the development and implementation of the state’s Seal of Biliteracy. Under her guidance, the Roadmap has promoted the development of a multilingual workforce for Hawai‘i through statewide symposia, multilingual career development programs, and outreach endeavors that have reached over 3500 employers, educators, students, and job seekers across the state. She is currently directing the Roadmap’s initiative to promote the credentialing of language proficiency as an additional workforce skill in Hawai‘i’s high-demand industry sectors. As Roadmap Director, Dr. Yoshimi serves on the State of Hawai‘i Workforce Development Council’s Sector Strategies and Career Pathways Committee and its Performance Standards Committee, the UH-Mānoa College of Education’s Multilingual Learner Teacher Education Committee, and the Moanalua High School World Language Learning Center Advisory Board.

Dina R. Yoshimi, Ph.D.

Director, Hawai‘i Language Roadmap Initiative

College of Arts, Languages and Letters

Moore Hall 382

University of Hawai'i-Mānoa

Office: (808) 956-2077



Instagram: @hawaiilanguageroadmap

Jan 08, 202155:37
Real World Connections through EVERFI with Guests, Samantha du Preez and Erica Hart

Real World Connections through EVERFI with Guests, Samantha du Preez and Erica Hart

We have to show students that there is a real connection between what they learn in school and the world beyond the classroom. How can educators help students connect with real-world problems, and navigate them in a low-risk environment?

Engage students in many ways. One size does not fit all, and students need to hear and engage with content in many different ways. CTE programs are integral to diversifying students’ learning opportunities. EVERFI supports that learning with another method of practicing skills using interactive, online lessons and games. In EVERFI: Financial Literacy, students learn about personal finance, planning for the future, and protecting themselves through six 20-minute lessons, all at their own pace on their computer, Chromebook, or tablet.

Provide authentic learning opportunities. Learning through true-to-life simulations and real-world experience transforms a students’ understanding. EVERFI’s virtual lessons provide an opportunity to put those skills to the test. For example, if you want to give your students a foundation in entrepreneurship, Venture: Entrepreneurial Expedition guides students through designing and running their own virtual food truck business.  A virtual simulation can get the conversation started, while providing a foundation in concepts students need to be successful.

Read more here:

Samantha du Preez is EVERFI's K-12 Community Engagement Manager. She has worked with EVERFI over the last five years to connect with educators and equip them with the resources they need to prepare students for the real world. A former elementary and ESL educator herself, Samantha has taught in communities in Los Angeles, Arizona, and South Korea. She has her M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from the American College of Education, two B.A. degrees in English and Journalism from the University of Arizona, and her research on early language acquisition has been published in the Korea TESOL Journal. Now a resident of Detroit, she continues to advocate for education locally, but spends most of her free time keeping warm and well-fed with her spouse and two dogs.

Erica Hart is a Senior Schools manager based in her hometown of Kansas City. She graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s in Education and earned her Master's degree in Educational Technology from the University of Central Missouri. Erica was an educator in MO for 7 years before joining EVERFI as a Schools Manager where she helps to train teachers, provide ongoing support, and share data with schools and districts about the impact of EVERFI’s resources.

Dec 21, 202046:12
An Education-Business Relationship: The Story of a Partnership Journey with Guests Lindsey Balderaz and John Turcic
Nov 07, 202058:55
Professional Organization Membership, Engagement, and Leadership: Interview with Jon Quatman

Professional Organization Membership, Engagement, and Leadership: Interview with Jon Quatman

Bio: Jon Quatman was Assistant Superintendent and Vice President for Great Oaks, the career-technical school district serving 30,000 youth and adults at four campuses in southwestern Ohio.  After earning his BA at Thomas More College and his Masters from Xavier University, Jon held administrative positions in a large Cincinnati suburb, Forest Hills. When Jon came to Great Oaks in 1996 as Director of the largest Great Oaks campus, he was immediately charged with restructuring the school into professional academies. After successfully completing this challenge, Jon earned a vice presidency position.

At Great Oaks, Jon successfully integrated assessment and accountability into the learning process. Jon required individual academic plans for each student which have led to improved graduation rates, employment and continuing education. He enhanced accountability through the integration of a more accurate and accessible student management system. He has also restructured assessment and professional development at Great Oaks to upgrade the accuracy and relevancy of assessments in each career program.  He oversaw all student services, secondary marketing and State data reporting for the district and the curriculum department.

Jon’s expertise has been recognized and valued by his peers.  He was tapped for Leadership Cincinnati – the first non-superintendent.  He was selected to work on the Ohio Taskforce to set standards for supporting students with special needs in a rigorous academic environment. He served on the Ohio Taskforce to define performance measures for Ohio CTE; he has been the Chair of the Ohio North Central Accreditation Association, President of the Ohio Association of Career and Technical Education, President of the National Council of Local Administrators, and Vice President of Region I for Association of Career and Technical Education, representing the Northeastern States from Maine to West Virginia to Michigan, including Washington DC. He received the Ambassador Award from the Special Needs Division of Ohio Association of Career and Technical Education, the Stanley Fox Excellence in Education Award in 2003 from Ohio NCA-CASI and Ohio Excellence in Education Award in 2010 from Advanced ED.

Blog Post:

Nov 06, 202034:16
Interview with Dr. Aaron Smith: The Future of Work Depends on the Autonomous Learning Skills We Build Today

Interview with Dr. Aaron Smith: The Future of Work Depends on the Autonomous Learning Skills We Build Today

In this episode of the NCLA Podcast, Dr. Aaron L. Smith reminds listeners to remember that academia must bridge careers (ABCs) through CTE and STEM and discusses building a robust workforce in these areas through collaboration. Aaron is an author and international speaker, and an active educator leading one of the most award-winning STEM magnet schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Specializing in advanced workforce development, Dr. Smith brings an inspiring message all over the nation on the transformation of STEM Career and Technical Ed public education.

Visit the following links to learn more about Dr. Smith's work:

Nov 06, 202032:07
Leading the Way with NCLA Board Member, Eric Ripley

Leading the Way with NCLA Board Member, Eric Ripley

Eric Ripley has 18 years of professional experience in Career and Technical Education (CTE) including his current roles as the Director of CTE for the Grand Forks Public Schools (North Dakota) and Director of the Grand Forks Area Career & Technology Center. A graduate of the University of North Dakota, Eric’s educational background includes a Bachelor's Degree in Business Education and a Master's Degree in Career & Technical Education/Educational Leadership. Prior to his current administrative position, Eric previously taught as a middle school CTE computer teacher and high school information technology instructor. Eric is passionate about the importance of Career and Technical Education within public education and expanding opportunities for all students to partake in CTE. Eric is married to Sadie, and has three sons, Toby, Grady, and Ethan.

Nov 03, 202026:02
Communication and Collaboration are KEY to CTE! Interview with Fran Bromley-Norwood
Sep 30, 202035:25
UnEarthing Leadership Mastery with Del Johnson

UnEarthing Leadership Mastery with Del Johnson

Del Johnson is the Vice President of Business Development at Orgametrics. Del’s education and corporate experience, most notably running the college and career center for Minneapolis Public Schools, gives him unique insight into understanding the challenges of organizations wishing to develop truly effective and aligned teams and leaders. 

Sep 29, 202016:09
Looking Forward with NCLA Board Member, Dave Keaton

Looking Forward with NCLA Board Member, Dave Keaton

Dave Keaton began his current CTE Regional Director/Superintendent position at Region Two School of Applied Technology located in Houlton, Maine, in July 2012. Previously, Dave was CTE Director of Somerset Career & Technical Center in Skowhegan, Maine for 6 years, was a Pre K -12 Principal at Ashland Schools, Director of Learning at Loring Job Corps, CTE Director at St. John Valley Technology Center, and K - 12 Principal at Limestone Community School. Dave earned his Bachelor's Degree at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, his Master's and Certificate of Advance Studies Degrees at the University of Maine in Educational Leadership. Dave has recently completed a three-year term, as Vice President of Career & Technical Education National Association for Region I comprising of 15 states and the District of Columbia. While a member of the ACTE Dave recently was a finalist of ACTE’s Administrator of the Year Award and winner of Region I Administrator of the Year. He also was selected for the Scott Westbrook III Humanitarian Award and the Jim Hanneman Award. Dave is the President-Elect of National Council of Local Administrators of CTE (NCLA) and will assume the President position in school year FY18. Dave is the Chair for Northern New England CTE Consortium comprised of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Dave also serves on the state committee of the Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve since his military retirement in 2000 as a Field Artillery Captain. Serves on the Board of Directors of Aroostook County Action Program. Dave also serves on serves on several other state and local committees. He lives in Caribou, Maine with his wife and two daughters.

Sep 26, 202030:19
Not Your Father's Shop Class: CTE is an "Everybody Option" with NCLA Board Member, Chris Bailey

Not Your Father's Shop Class: CTE is an "Everybody Option" with NCLA Board Member, Chris Bailey

In this episode of the NCLA podcast, Chris Bailey shares the importance of CTE to economic development and how teachers need to think of themselves as industry trainers and recruiters. Tune in to hear why every student should be required to take a Career and Technical Education class and how his daughter's experience in CTE saved him potentially $200k in a potentially wrong career decision. 

Learn more about his CTE program in Onslow:

Chris Bailey is the Career & Technical Education Director for Onslow County Schools in southeastern North Carolina. Beginning his career as an agricultural education teacher, Chris has served as a CTE teacher, career development coordinator, elementary assistant principal, high school assistant principal and CTE Director. Chris served Craven County Schools for eight years as CTE Director and has recently returned to Onslow County Schools to lead CTE. He was the recipient of the Dave Berryman Leadership Scholarship in 2016, NC Southeast Region CTE Director of the Year in 2015 and 2018, and the North Carolina CTE Director of the Year in 2019. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education from North Carolina State University and a Masters of School Administration from East Carolina University. His wife, Beth, is an Agricultural Education teacher in Onslow County. They have one daughter, Caitlyn, who is a freshman at Western Carolina University.

Sep 04, 202044:23
Interview with Massachusetts's Longest Serving School Superintendent, Dr. Gerry Paist

Interview with Massachusetts's Longest Serving School Superintendent, Dr. Gerry Paist

Gerry Paist has been the Superintendent of the Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School District in Palmer, Massachusetts since 1974 and is currently the longest-serving school superintendent in Massachusetts. He credits that longevity to the students and staff of the District and especially to the outstanding members of the Pathfinder School Committee (a.k.a. School Board). Previously he spent six years as an administrator at Westfield State College in the office of the Vice President and Academic Dean. At Westfield State, he oversaw the Vocational Teacher Training Program and was responsible for creating the college’s first full-time day graduate program in the Administration of Occupational Education. A native of Pennsylvania, Gerry grew up and attended high school in suburban Philadelphia. In the fall of 1957, he entered Lafayette College where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1961. Following graduation from Lafayette, he went directly to Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education where he received his M.A.T. degree in June 1962. He subsequently served as a mathematics teacher in the public schools of Wayland and Stoneham, Massachusetts. In 1966 he received a leave of absence from Stoneham to pursue doctoral work at Harvard where he received his Ed.D. from the Graduate School of Education’s Administrative Career Program in June 1971. Gerry reports that a school superintendent’s position is often a 70-hour week, but he finds time to be a season ticket holder for the Springfield (MA) Thunderbirds hockey team, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Broadway in Boston, City Stage, and the University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center. Gerry’s professional associations include the American Association of School Administrators, Mass. Assn. of School Superintendents, Mass. Assn. of Vocational Administrators, Mass. Vocational Assn. and ACTE. He is a long time Board Member and past Chairman of the Quaboag Hills Chamber of Commerce in Palmer, Mass.

Aug 24, 202049:23
"If You're Not Improving, You're Backing Up" with Pat Edmunds

"If You're Not Improving, You're Backing Up" with Pat Edmunds

Pat Edmunds is the Director of Arkansas Tech Career Center in Russellville, Arkansas. Spending more than 25 years in CTE, she has accepted the role as an educational administrator, leader, and mentor excitedly. She took a 1972 vo-tech model and modernized it by facilitating a merger with a two-year institution, updating programming, incorporating industry credentials, and growing enrollment by 200%. She brought industry to the table to have real conversations about growing a local modern workforce. Her motto is, “If you’re not improving, you’re backing up.” When she’s not in her garden, she and her husband, Jerry, love spending time with their precious grandbabies or traveling to her favorite haunts in New Orleans.

Aug 22, 202034:29
Safely Opening Careerteched: Best Practices and Considerations for Fall 2020 with Dr. Edward Bouquillon

Safely Opening Careerteched: Best Practices and Considerations for Fall 2020 with Dr. Edward Bouquillon

In this episode, Dr. Edward A. Bouquillon, Superintendent-Director of the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School District, shares the details of his district's efforts to navigate a global pandemic while ensuring that the needs of students, staff, and the community are met. This podcast features best practices and innovative approaches that CTE leaders across the country can implement for the 2020-2021 school year to integrate on-site school learning with e-learning while ensuring safety first for all stakeholders.

Podcast note: Dr. Bouquillon started as the vocational coordinator in 1988.

Connect with Dr. Bouquillon to discuss the podcast, ask questions, or learn more about plans for the upcoming school year:

Dr. Bouquillon's work has been featured in the following publications:

Education Week: Coronavirus, Economic Crisis Cloud Resurgence of Career and Technical Education

National Association of School Superintendents: It is the constant, daily, intentional choice of love over fear that will bring us all through this.

AASA: Career Skills vs Academics: Not an Either/Or Proposition

Video of Minuteman’s drive-thru 2020 graduation

Dr. Edward A. Bouquillon is a veteran educator who is widely recognized as an innovator and champion for career and technical education. He was appointed Superintendent-Director of the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School District in 2007 and has nearly three decades of experience. In 2019, Bouquillon was nominated as semi-finalist for the National Superintendent of the Year Award from the National Association of School Superintendents.

Dr. Bouquillon believes that career and technical education, coupled with rigorous academic courses, gives Minuteman graduates a competitive edge in the new global economy. That’s why he describes Minuteman as “a revolution in learning.”

His leadership and collaboration with local and state leaders was instrumental in the construction of a new state-of-the-art building for Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School, which opened in September 2019. The new facility fosters a robust college and career academy model that has led to new or expanded programs to respond to labor demands, including biotechnology, engineering technology, environmental science, advanced manufacturing, multimedia engineering, and soon, animal science.

During his tenure, Minuteman has consistently performed well on statewide student testing and outperformed the state average on graduation rates. In 2018, Minuteman was one of only three vocational-technical schools designated as a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education for overall excellence.

Dr. Bouquillon is an active member of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) and served as its president from 2013-2014, and now sits on its Board of Directors. He’s a founding member of the Alliance for Vocational Education and is a trustee to the National Occupational Competency Training Institute (NOCTI.) He also served on the Lexington, MA Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors and was elected Chairman in 2012, and is involved in numerous additional organizations. He holds a PhD in Workforce Education and a master’s degree in Animal Studies, both from Pennsylvania State University, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Occupational and Vocational Education from the University of Connecticut.

Aug 14, 202055:01
CTE, STEM, and The Future of Work with Guest, Larisa Schelkin

CTE, STEM, and The Future of Work with Guest, Larisa Schelkin

Larisa K. Schelkin is CEO & Founder, Global STEM Education Center, Inc. 501(c) (3) nonprofit and President, Global STEM Education Consulting, LLC. Larisa is the author of the Global STEM Classroom® - globally connected teaching and learning model. She develops and runs collaborative global STEM programs with schools in Massachusetts and around the world. Larisa is the recipient of MAVA Friend of Career & Technical Education Award (2016) and serves on the Steering Committee of MAVA Connecting for Success Annual Conference. She is a frequent speaker at career technical education conferences on the topics of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, BIG Data, the Future of Work and CTE education. Her Global STEM program was highlighted by ACTE, CTE, Longview Foundation, Asia Society in the white paper on workforce development. She led PD, coaching and implementation of the Global STEM CTE program for 4 years at a career technical high school (Electrical/Plumbing/Auto-Collision/Culinary) and for 10 years at regional public high/middle schools. She managed Global STEM Classroom programs in collaboration with educators in France, UK, Russia, the Netherlands, Norway, Ukraine, Mexico and India. Her programs were recognized and presented at MA STEM Summit, MAVA, ACTE, ISTE, ASCD, METAA, MassCUE, NSTA, CoSN. Larisa held executive positions in academia and STEM global corporations (WPI, WIT, Tufts University; TYCO Electronics Global Corporation).  Larisa is a NASA GLOBE Certified educator (since 2014). She is a Fellow for Education Policy, Rennie Center for Educational Research and Policy & Institute for Education Leadership (IEL), Washington, DC (Class 2015); Larisa studied Global Education at Harvard University Graduate School of Education ”Think Tank” (2015-2019); Larisa Schelkin holds BS/MS in Petroleum Engineering & MS in Computer Science.

Learn more about the Global STEM Education Center on page 2 of this white paper: Preparing a Globally competent workforce through a high-quality career technical education:

Aug 10, 202047:26
Access to Critical Thinking and The Education Equity Equation with Colin Seale
Jul 15, 202046:06
Teachers Need Coaches Now More Than Ever, with Will Morris

Teachers Need Coaches Now More Than Ever, with Will Morris

When you think of essential workers in career and technical education, what comes to mind? If your first thought was coaches, you are ahead of the game. Our teachers need coaches now more than ever. In this episode, Will Morris, the founder of social enterprise EdConnective, shares how coaching can help teachers embrace distance learning and help students thrive during this challenging time.

There isn’t a teacher in America who was teaching during the last pandemic that caused schools to close en masse. That happened in 1918. With COVID-19 forcing teachers to deliver distance learning practically overnight, schools and districts are facing the monumental task of “wholesale retraining” their workforce.

Superintendents of massive urban school districts are calling this is, “an adaptive challenge on a scale not seen in a generation.” The closest example from the past 85 years is probably the wartime effort of World War II that saw factories retool to produce supplies for the war effort, and bring women to the workforce on a scale not previously seen.

Too dramatic a comparison? Perhaps. But that’s the magnitude of what we’re asking educators to do. Read more here:

Will Morris is the Founder and CEO of EdConnective. Will received his Masters of Education from the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education. There he researched instructional coaching as a promising lever of teacher quality. Before UPenn, Will spent a year working with a cohort of 30 African American freshmen as an Urban Prep Fellow in a Chicago Charter School. During his year in Chicago, Will became a Starting Bloc Social Innovation Fellow and participated in a social entrepreneurship institute that sparked his desire to create systemic impact through social innovation. 

Connect with Will Morris and learn more about his work:

Twitter: @edconnective



Jun 27, 202044:07
STEM Careers and CTE Events Gone Virtual with Tiffanie Rosier and Brittany Hollis

STEM Careers and CTE Events Gone Virtual with Tiffanie Rosier and Brittany Hollis

In this episode, Rachael Mann is joined by guests, Tiffanie Rosier and Brittany Hollis to discuss Northern Virginia Community College's STEM outreach program and the successful move to a virtual platform.

Virtual STEM Careers Event Recap, written by Tiffanie and Brittany

Many programs at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) have effectively adjusted their events from in-person to virtual and NOVA SySTEMic, NOVA's STEM outreach program, has done the same with STEM Camps, STEMinars and CTE Career Exploration. In March, NOVA SySTEMic successfully pivoted major in-person events to a virtual format using Zoom, including Virtual Interviewing Skills Workshops, Virtual Mock Interviews, and a STEM Careers Series.

Virtual CTE Career Exploration Fair

In response to COVID 19, NOVA went into telework and remote instruction in mid-March, just 72 hours before the CTE Career Exploration Fair. Faced with the decision to cancel, reschedule or modify the event, NOVA SySTEMic decided to put on a Virtual Career Fair so that students and parents would not miss the important and timely information that could still be relayed through Zoom.

The Virtual CTE Career Exploration Fair provided access to valuable information on NOVA Programs, Services and Career Exploration.  Although 91 students had signed up for the original in-person event, 29 participants and 15 of NOVA's programs of study and student services departments were retained for the Virtual Fair.  This new format allowed for small group interaction and allowed participants to learn more about a variety of programs in one setting from their own home.  While the turnaround time to modify the event was short, the goal of providing information to current and prospective students was still met effectively.

This fall our goal is to conduct a series of Virtual CTE Program Session Overviews in October that will also provide session recordings that will be available on the NOVA SySTEMic YouTube Channel.

To continue reading, click here.

Tiffanie Rosier is a STEM Education Coordinator for Northern Virginia Community College.  She has a Bachelor's in Public Relations from James Madison University, a Masters in Higher Education Administration from Western Kentucky University, and holds the Global Career Development Facilitator Certification.  Tiffanie has worked in Career Services at several institutions. Brittany Hollis is the Information and Engineering Technology Career Coach for Northern Virginia Community College. She has a Bachelor's in Biology and Teacher Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Masters in Higher Education from North Carolina State University. Brittany was a former high school science teacher before transitioning to higher education and has worked with several STEM education programs at the collegiate level.

Jun 20, 202053:32
The Urban Access: Providing Access and Opportunity for Underserved and Underrepresented Groups with guest, Kevin McCaskill

The Urban Access: Providing Access and Opportunity for Underserved and Underrepresented Groups with guest, Kevin McCaskill

Blog post written by Kevin McCaskill, Executive Director at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School

Malcolm X once quoted, “education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”  That preparation has been disrupted by the current COVID-19 pandemic.  School districts across the country have turned to remote learning to salvage formal education, a far cry from normalcy.  Although means and methods have been put in place by districts across the country to supplement learning, inequities abound.  As school districts remain closed and the summer learning opportunities

In our urban school districts, these inequities are very apparent.  Special education and English Learners, whose numbers are substantially greater than suburban districts, are at a disadvantage in accessing and comprehending remote lessons.  These students thrive on face-to-face interactions; the personal touch enhances the learning process due to the rapports that are developed, the ability for students to ask questions, the ability for teachers to “read the room” for understanding, and the ability for students to learn from each other.

The inequities don’t stop there; access to technology and factors involving housing, food, and other socioeconomic issues have made learning for many students a difficult and trying ordeal.  Urban districts must first look to meet the most basic needs of its students before the educational process even starts.

Urban districts have been responsible for providing laptops and hotspots to families; urban districts have been very instrumental in lobbying internet companies in providing free or reduced rate service for families.

Homelessness and transiency are real obstacles for districts as families as they struggle to solve short-term housing issues in an effort to meet an immediate need.  Education becomes secondary to this most basic need; the uncertainty of where one may lay their head for any given evening proves to be more of a priority than logging on to solve Math problems.  For students who live in tight quarters with multiple family members, finding a place to study that is conducive to positive results is problematic.  If the family only has one computer, accessing remote learning in a timely fashion may be compromised.

Food shortages and proper nutrition are factors that affect student outcomes.   Families that are in need of food make this their priority; most of these families depend on schools to provide at least two meals per day, five days a week for their children.  Families that have experienced temporary layoffs now must depend on their children to find employment to supplement income in an effort to provide means for the family.  These students place employment and providing for their families a priority; education must wait.

Urban districts have been proactive in providing meals for families and individual schools have ponied up funds to distribute gift cards and grocery store vouchers for families to meet short-term shortfalls.  Schools have reached out to outside agencies such as counseling, social work, housing authorities, and healthcare, as well as school partners to support students and families any way they can.

In summary, our urban districts must support the most basic needs of students and families first before any thought of successful navigation of remote learning can occur.  For some urban families, education is important but it cannot compete with the attainment of basic family needs.  Urban districts play an important role in attempting to fill the gaps.  These districts provide students and families with access to equipment, supplies, and necessities in an effort for students to take advantage of educational opportunities that can support all their future hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

Jun 02, 202020:13
"Think Back. Look Forward. Build the Future" with Guest, Snehal Bhakta

"Think Back. Look Forward. Build the Future" with Guest, Snehal Bhakta

In this episode, Snehal Bhakta and Rachael Mann discuss looking forward while building the foundation and what’s in store for the future of education and CTE.

Blog post by Snehal:

Normally, as the school year wraps up, I try to reflect on the work of our CTE Department and myself to support our schools, principals, teachers, and most importantly our students.  For whatever reason, this year feels different.  Almost like that, there isn’t an end in sight at all.

The 2019-2020 school year will be known as the year education really, let’s hope that is what it is remembered as.  Change is always difficult, frustrating, challenging, and a number of other words… however, in order to look forward, innovate, and truly succeed, then change must happen.

As I and many of us reflect on this past year, there are many things we can all be proud of that we did for education and our students.  We began planning for more equity initiatives and increasing middle school career exploration based on Perkins V.  As well as continuing to grow the current programs that align with our local industries.  Yes, it was shaping up to be another “banner” year of successes and some items for growth and improvement.

Then, we entered March... the home stretch. Making summer plans, trying something new, and counting the days till the end of the school year.  Unfortunately, the world stopped.  It wasn’t just education... it was everything. Stay at home orders, social distancing, and this thing called “distance” or “remote” learning.  Many things were closed; however, a lot isn’t… phone calls, reading, family time, exercise, laughing, and hope is not cancelled.

Now is the time to embrace what we have. Yes, we need to look forward to what the future holds...the opportunities, the hope, and the possibilities.  What better time than during a global pandemic to “rebuild” education...or just blow it up and start from scratch.

Snehal Bhakta started his professional career by working in the private sector, primarily in business and technology consulting for 15 years prior to entering into public education. When the opportunity presented itself for him to lead a new Career and Technical Education(CTE) program focusing on technology within Clark County School District(CCSD), he welcomed the opportunity to fuel his passion of helping others and working with the next generation of innovators.

Currently, he is a CTE Administrator employed for the 5th largest school district in the country with over 320,000 students, focusing on ensuring Nevada’s future workforce is prepared for success. Snehal has worked on projects related to increasing student and community participation with National Job Shadow Day, started an Annual Student Workforce & Innovation Summit, promotion and growth of Career & Technical Student Organizations, and leading CCSD’s #GirlsinSTEM and #GirlsinTECH Initiative as well as supporting STEM equity programs across 59 middle and 47 high schools for all students and especially those underserved and underrepresented students.

Snehal also serves as the Affiliate Coordinator for NCWIT(National Center for Women & Information Technology), marketing and event chair for the Society of Information Management(SIM) of Las Vegas, steering committee member for the Intermountain STEM(IM STEM), and holds board positions on several other local organizations.  In 2017, he was awarded the Top Tech Exec Award in the Education Category by Cox Communications and in 2019, the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity(NAPE) awarded Snehal the 2019 Rising Star award at their National Summit for Educational Equity in Washington, D.C as well as he recently received the COX Business 2019 Top Tech Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with diversity in the workforce in Southern Nevada.

May 23, 202048:28
Maintaining Balance in a COVID-19 World with Guest, Shelly Thome

Maintaining Balance in a COVID-19 World with Guest, Shelly Thome

By Shelly Thome

We are living in unsettling and unpredictable times.  COVID-19 has taken a toll on our country’s economy, medical systems, and schools.  It has also rocked the foundation of our feelings of safety, social connection, and hope.

During this COVID-19 world, we now find ourselves in, it is of increasing importance to find and then maintain balance in our lives.  This need for balance is critical for educational staff.  In a matter of days- not months or years- schools were asked to turn educational structures upside down and create new distance learning methods while engaging students and assuring access and equity.  Educators (teachers, administrators, counselors, administrative assistants, and more) rose to the challenge and have made remote learning successful while maintaining connections to their students.

We need to look at the emotional cost to our educators and to develop strategies of support.  Our educators not only became IT specialists, but they also had to create at home offices with capabilities to support learning.  Those well-developed lesson plans and upcoming critical professional development courses had to be thrown out and immediately converted to a new format.  All of this occurred while educators had worries about their own health and safety and cared for those in their lives that need support as well.  Many now transitioned into not only teaching their students remotely but also becoming a home school teacher to their own children while balancing work duties.

To help transition our staff through this challenging time, we need to make sure we put the person before the position.  District leadership, as well as every staff member, needs to continue their connections to one another, encourage office hours that allow individuals to bring their workday to a close, and to have strategies to manage stress.  This can be accomplished through informative and supportive emails, regular check-ins that do not have a printed agenda attached, and through resources of support.  Once our staff is cared for and emotionally healthy, they are then able to model this balance for students and the community.

CTE is one big family.  During this time of COVID-19 and social distancing, let’s work together to be certain that social distancing does not equate to social isolation.  Let’s help each other maintain balance and prepare for the time in which we can be together again soon without the need for virtual meetings.

Shelly Thome, LPC, CCTP, CCTSI

Shelly Thome is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Arizona.  She is not only a private practice therapist but also a school counselor for over 20 years.  In Shelly’s current role as the Exceptional Student Services Manager at West-MEC, she not only provides intervention resources for students and staff but is also a trainer for suicide awareness programs of More Than Sad and Youth Mental Health First Aid.  Shelly also provides professional development classes such as Working with Adolescents with Anxiety, Kick Compassion Fatigue to the Curb, and Serving Exceptional Students in CTE.  Shelly serves on the policy committee for the ACTE Counseling and Career Development Division and is engaged in the development of the ACTE Mentorship Program for Inclusion, Access, Equity, and Diversity. Connect with Shelly via email,  or on Twitter, @ThomeShelly.

May 16, 202042:12
Real Talk About Education- Distance/eLearning with Guest, Ken Shelton

Real Talk About Education- Distance/eLearning with Guest, Ken Shelton

In this podcast, Ken Shelton and Rachael Mann discuss remote learning in career and technical education and the equity and access issues that are magnified in the face of a global pandemic. 

Excerpt from Ken's Blog:

"Distance Learning, Remote Learning, eLearning, no matter what you call it or how you package it, is not working. Here's the thing, it never had a chance in the first place. When the decision to shut down in-person schooling swept the country, even the world, educators, and support staff across the educational spectrum had to make significant adjustments. In far too many of these cases, the changes had to be implemented within just a few days. Who would have planned for a pandemic of this magnitude, let alone included something this catastrophic in their strategic plan? The problem is, no amount of planning or preparation would have shielded a significant percentage of students in schools without looking at the systemic structures in the first place. It has been seen, written, and experienced that this entire situation we are managing has revealed the deep enduring wound covered by the comfort of complacency, platitudes, and diversionary rhetoric so often prevalent in education.

“Be aware of when privilege tries to speak everyone’s stories. It’s not true.” 

This entire situation is affecting so many people in so many different ways. Yes, we get the stories of how some kids are thriving during remote learning or how some educators have managed to remain closely connected with their students. There are many lessons to be learned through these examples, but they do not account for the majority. In fact, in education, we tend to highlight and celebrate the outliers while conveniently ignoring the most vulnerable, the marginalized. Continue reading this blog post here:

Ken holds an M.A. in Education with a specialization in Educational Technology as well as New Media Design and Production. He has worked as an Educator for over 20 years and most recently taught technology at the Middle School level. As a part of his active involvement within the Educational Technology community, Ken is an Apple Distinguished Educator and a Google Certified Innovator. Ken has worked extensively at the policy level and was named to the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction's Education Technology Task Force. Ken regularly gives keynotes, presentations, consults, and leads workshops, covering a wide variety of Educational Technology, Equity and Inclusion, Multimedia Literacy, Cultural Relevance, Visual Storytelling, and Instructional Design topics. Ken is the ISTE Digital Equity PLN 2018 Excellence Award winner.

Ken has provided and continues to provide consulting support to many companies, State Departments of Education, Ministries of Education, school districts/systems Nationally and Internationally, as well as non-profits such as the California Emerging Technology Fund's School2Home program which is designed to support closing the Achievement Gap and Digital Divide at low-performing California middle schools.

Connect with Ken on Twitter,, and visit his website,

May 11, 202054:12
PBL in a Remote Learning Environment with Guest, Tisha Richmond
May 04, 202056:24
“CTSO and CTE Programs Ruin Students and Educators for Life!” with Guest, Frank Kitchen

“CTSO and CTE Programs Ruin Students and Educators for Life!” with Guest, Frank Kitchen

“CTSO and CTE Programs Ruin Students and Educators for Life!” I shared this comment while working with a group of student leaders, CTE advisors and State Directors in Virginia. The statement was in reference to my thoughts about CTE programs. The statement shocked some at first, then I continued speaking.

“CTSO and CTE Programs Ruin Students and Educators for Life in a good way!” I see CTE and CTSO programs as a career and leadership incubator. A combination of soft skills and hard skills are gained through participation. These skills and knowledge will be applied to their lives and careers of those who participate. Many go on to excel personally and professionally after their CTE/CTSO Days are long gone.

Why do I use the word “ruin?” Google defines ruin as the physical destruction or disintegration of something or the state of disintegrating or being destroyed. Quite simply ruin can be a positive or negative term. I see it as a positive. Before anyone joins a CTE or CTSO they are in a certain physical or mental state. That physical or mental state is transformed through participation in to an individual who recognizes and becomes confident in their abilities. They have an understanding of the opportunities available to them and how to capitalize on those opportunities. Read more here:

In this podcast, our moderator, Rachael Mann, is joined by Frank Kitchen. Frank is “The F.R.E.S.H. Mindset Expert.” He works with Professional Associations that want their Members to Maximize their Potential and Produce the Tasty Results everyone desires. Frank’s Motivational Keynote Speeches and Training Programs energize, educate, and empower leaders and their teams to get hungry and transform their personal and professional dreams into reality. He has been blessed to speak professionally around the world for numerous associations, corporations, schools, colleges, universities, nonprofits, and civic organizations. Please contact Frank to learn how he can make your next Conference, Convention, or Training Event a F.R.E.S.H. Experience and follow him on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @FrankKitchen.

Apr 18, 202055:31
West Sound Technical Skills Center Tackles Remote Learning, with Guest, Shani Watkins

West Sound Technical Skills Center Tackles Remote Learning, with Guest, Shani Watkins

Blog post by: Shani Watkins, Director of West Sound Technical Skills Center

Friday, March 13, our school superintendent, along with the rest of the superintendents in our local educational service district, told us at noon that it would be our last day of school for a while. Though we knew from the sessions with the governor and state superintendent that the time was likely coming, we were hopeful that we would be out of school for a few weeks and then return.

The following Monday, our governor and superintendent of public instruction that all schools across the state were being closed. While we were already closed, it was a shock. That first week after the announcement, my focus was on helping my staff navigate their shock and feelings and help them begin to think differently about delivering career and technical education in alternative formats. Each teacher was expected to connect with every family during this time.

Once the shock subsided, we moved into figuring out what do we do to support our students and create as much of a normal learning environment during this most unusual time.  Our most significant concern has been developing an equitable learning environment for all of our students. We continue to ponder how best to deliver distance learning that supports equitable student learning and supports our most vulnerable children.

Teachers are developing weekly sessions with students, whether pre-recorded ‘how-to’ videos and live sessions where they can work together. They are working to support students where they are at and encourage continued learning. Though much of what our teachers are doing would not be considered innovative, it is definitely out of their normal teaching repertoire. Teachers are simultaneously learning Google Classroom, Google Sites, Remind, and how to develop YouTube videos.  Teachers are setting up ‘classrooms’ in their homes, where they can prepare demonstrations to share with students.

Last week another challenge struck when we learned that we would not be returning to school this year. Not only are our students disappointed that they won’t be able to return for the year, but the staff is also equally as upset. This poses the next concern for our technical center: what do grades look like from now until the end of the school year. The state directive requires districts to provide new learning weekly, but, does not allow the new learning to be counted against students if they do not complete the work. We determined that students would earn pass or no credit for any new learning. The concern, though, is that there will be an increased gap in learning between those that have access and those that do not.

Our next concern is how to ensure that students meet dual credit expectations for courses that articulate to college courses. Many of the students would have met the requirements had the school year been ‘normal’; however, now it is challenging to determine how best to ensure students complete the competencies with the same depth had all been ‘normal’. I am hopeful that there are written methods to show their knowledge versus demonstrating knowledge through primarily project-based, hands-on activities.

I am thankful that our superintendent, governor, and state superintendent chose earlier on to close schools in order to support the stay safe and stay healthy social distancing orders. I realize the upcoming challenges that will happen but am grateful that social distancing is working and saving lives. I am thankful for teachers that care deeply about their students and ensuring that not only do students have access to new learning, but they also have caring adults that continue to check in with them regularly.

Connect with Shani via email, or on Twitter, @watkins_shani

Apr 18, 202034:12
Removing the Restraints During COVID-19 with Guest, Crissy Lauterbach

Removing the Restraints During COVID-19 with Guest, Crissy Lauterbach

COVID-19 has profoundly transformed our education system, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing. In this episode, listeners will hear innovative approaches to online leading and learning, ways to navigate the digital divide, how to streamline processes, how to balance the roles of remote leading while parenting, homeschooling, and navigating an epidemic, what limits to place on social media intake, and so much more!

Connect with our guest, Crissy Lauterbach, on Twitter @ContactLearning or visit her website,

Apr 11, 202034:23
Finding Balance in a Time of Uncertainty, with Guest, Aaron Polansky
Apr 03, 202038:06
What COVID-19 and Remote Learning Means for CareerTechEd: Updates from our guest, Alisha Hyslop

What COVID-19 and Remote Learning Means for CareerTechEd: Updates from our guest, Alisha Hyslop

We are seeing the impact of COVID-19 across all aspects of our lives. In light of the rapid spread of the virus, many schools across the country are closing. The move to remote learning comes with unique challenges and issues for CTE programs. This week's guest, Alisha Hyslop is the director of public policy at ACTE and plays a pivotal role in keeping Career and Technical Education leaders updated. In this episode, Alisha will share how ACTE is responding to the COVID19 pandemic, resources that are available for leaders as we move to remote learning environments, and policy changes that have been made or that are in the works at the federal level to help support schools.  Please note, changes are occurring rapidly and the information shared is current as of March 26, 2020. 

Mar 27, 202025:17