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Today the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) was proud to announce the winners of this year’s Star of Education Awards at the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting. Demonstrating leadership, vision and dedication to Career Technical Education (CTE), each of these honorees has made extraordinary contributions to the practice and expansion of CTE.

This year’s awardees include two Distinguished Service—Congressional Award winners Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Representative Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-PA), the recipients of the State CTE Director Emeritus Award are Dr. Kathy Shibley of Ohio and Dr. Patrick Ainsworth of California, and Russ Weikle of California is the first-ever State CTE Director Rising Star honoree.

“The CTE community is blessed with an abundance of talented and passionate individuals who work all day, every day to realize the vision of high-quality CTE,” said NASDCTEc Executive Director Kimberly Green. “Today’s honorees have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Each has dedicated years of faithful service and visionary leadership to the CTE enterprise, and we all owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

As Co-Chairmen of the Congressional CTE Caucus, Representative Thompson and Representative Langevin have been vocal champions of CTE and have a proven track record of raising awareness and understanding of the CTE enterprise among their colleagues in the legislative branch. The CTE Caucus Co-Chairmen have held congressional briefings on the importance of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, spearheaded letters to the executive branch and congressional leadership on the value of investment in CTE and have consistently made a compelling case for CTE’s positive economic impact and return on investment. Their years of tenacious advocacy on behalf of CTE was the driving force behind the NASDCTEc Executive Board’s decision to honor each of them with this Distinguished Service—Congressional Award.

“As co-chair of the Congressional CTE Caucus and a longtime supporter of job and skills training programs, I am honored to accept the Star of Education Award,” said Congressman Langevin. “It is our duty to provide a strong education for all students, and that must include robust career and technical programs. These programs prepare our youth for the careers that are available today and will continue to grow in the future. Investments in CTE are returned many times over through a skilled workforce that serves to strengthen our economy.”

“It’s a distinct honor to receive the Star of Education Award,” stated Congressman Thompson. “I want to thank the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium for their work to expand and improve career and technical programming across the country. As Co-Chairman of the bipartisan House Career and Technical Education Caucus, I look forward to continuing our shared advocacy on behalf of aspiring learners of all ages to ensure they have access to the training and tools necessary to succeed in career and educational endeavors.”

Also honored were two new inductees into the ranks of State CTE Directors Emeriti. Dr. Kathy Shibley of Ohio and Dr. Patrick Ainsworth of California both retired in 2013 after long careers of exceptional service to their states and to the CTE community. Since assuming the mantle of State CTE Director of California in1996, Dr. Ainsworth affected major change to the CTE landscape in his state, increasing gender equity compliance, developing business and industry partnerships and cultivating a modern CTE curriculum for his state. In her term as State CTE Director of Ohio, Dr. Shibley cultivated a reputation for making data-driven decisions and pursuing visionary reform. In particular, Dr. Shibley made significant contributions to the development and implementation of the National Career Clusters® Framework and prioritized student preparation and support services.

At ceremony’s close, Mr. Weikle received the first-ever State Director Rising Star Award. Even before taking the reins as State CTE Director of California, Mr. Weikle convened the CTE Plan Resources Group, which helped lay the foundation for the California State Plan for Career Technical Education. Mr. Weikle is also responsible for pioneering work in the distribution of Perkins funding, adopting the Perkins Grant Management System to streamline the distribution of Perkins funds throughout California.