Advance CTE Honors State CTE Leaders in Star of Education: Rising Star and Emeritus Awards


Advance CTE Honors State CTE Leaders in Star of Education: Rising Star and Emeritus Awards

October 16, 2017 – Washington, D.C. – Advance CTE is honored to announce the recipients of the 2017 Star of Education awards in both the Rising Star and Emeritus categories. This annual award is presented to State CTE Directors both current and past, who display unequivocal commitment to the goals and overall mission of Advance CTE.

Kathy Cullen, a recipient of the Star of Education: Emeritus award, provided over 35 years of educational leadership in Career Technical Education (CTE). She began her career as a CTE educator at the secondary level, then transitioned into the administration side as the Education Director of Family and Consumer Education at the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS). Cullen eventually became the Associate Vice President for Instruction, and retired earlier this year from her position as the Provost and Vice President at WTCS. In this role, Cullen provided direction for the development and delivery of more than 300 technical college education programs, student services and assessment, economic development and adult basic education to meet the needs of Wisconsin learners and employers alike. Her background spanning secondary and postsecondary CTE made her an invaluable part of the Advance CTE Board of Directors.

Advance CTE is also honored to award Dr. JoAnn Simser with the Star of Education: Emeritus award. Simser’s leadership in CTE spanned many decades in Minnesota as well as across the country. As State Director for CTE in Minnesota, Simser focused on collaboration as the bedrock of her leadership.  Among her many achievements was the implementation of the Minnesota Perkins Consortia system – a nationally recognized model that brings together secondary and postsecondary leaders and practitioners together to better serve learners in the state. This model has made Minnesota’s CTE programs stronger and more relevant in today’s workplace. At both the state and national level, Simser has served as a strong CTE advocate, promoting CTE and its necessity to deliver relevant, quality experiences for all learners.

The late Dr. Francis Tuttle is Advance CTE’s third recipient of the Emeritus Star of Education award. Tuttle’s impact on CTE has not only been valuable to Oklahoma, but also the field at large. He is often regarded as the “father of Oklahoma’s CareerTech Education,” due to his role as the architect of a system of technology centers that excels as a premier provider of CTE. Tuttle, in partnership with Oklahoma Governor Dewey Barlett, was instrumental in developing the state’s vocational education system and in 1967 became the State CTE Director. During Tuttle’s tenure, enrollment in CTE reached more than 200,000, and served learners across secondary, postsecondary, adult education and CTE in juvenile facilities. Oklahoma CareerTech currently serves more than half a million learners, which would not be possible without the solid foundation build through Tuttle’s leadership and passion.

Lastly, we are thrilled to honor Dr. Marcie Mack, State Director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, with Advance CTE’s Rising Star of Education award. Mack has spent her entire career focused on providing high-quality education. In her current position, which she began in 2014, Mack has provided leadership in launching several major initiates that will greatly impact students’ lives. She has also been a key participant in several high-level initiatives including the Governor’s Workforce Council, Oklahoma Works, Launch Oklahoma and the New Skills for Youth initiative from JP Morgan Chase & Co. Before becoming the State Director, Mack served as the Deputy State Director/Chief Operations Officer.

“CTE would simply not be successful in these states without the dedication and leadership provided by this year’s award winners,” said Kimberly Green, Advance CTE Executive Director. “We are so fortunate to have these visionary and talented professionals dedicate their lives to providing high-quality CTE to all learners.

All award winners were honored during an awards ceremony at the 2017 Advance CTE Fall Meeting in Baltimore, M.D. on October 16.

Contact: Katie Fitzgerald, 301-588-9630,

 About Advance CTE
Advance CTE: State Leaders Connecting Learning to Work is the longest-standing national non-profit that represents State Directors and state leaders responsible for secondary, postsecondary and adult Career Technical Education (CTE) across all 50 states and U.S. territories. Established in 1920, Advance CTE supports visionary state leadership, cultivates best practices and speaks with a collective voice on national policy to promote academic and technical excellence that ensures a career-ready workforce.