Staff Reflection: Honoring Our State CTE Directors
Kimberly Green, Executive Director
One of the best parts of working for a membership organization is the chance to meet interesting, inspiring leaders from every state in the country! During my tenure with the organization, I began in 1993, I have seen a lot of State CTE Directors come and go but the one constancy among them has been leadership. Our members, by definition of the positions they hold, are leaders; they are also leaders because of the beliefs they hold and the work they do every day to help more students find success by demanding excellence, ensuring equity and building support and visibility for Career Technical Education.
What often gets lost in our drive for improvement and achievement is the celebration of success. That is why I am so happy that annually Advance CTE’s Star of Education award recognizes former State Directors who have helped pave the way to get us where we are today, as well as rising stars who will pick up the ball and continue to move the work forward. Congratulations to this year’s winners – Kathy Cullen (former State Director in Wisconsin); JoAnn Simser (former State Director in Minnesota); Francis Tuttle (posthumous recognition, former State Director in Oklahoma); and our Rising Star – Marcie Mack, current State Director in Oklahoma! CTE and the lives of many are indelibly better because of each of you.
Staff Reflection: Supporting Our Members
Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development
During Monday’s Star of Education Award Ceremony, there was one comment that would stick with me for the rest of the meeting. Tom Friedemann, superintendent and CEO of the Francis Tuttle Technology Center, accepted the award on behalf of Dr. Francis Tuttle, who is known as the grandfather of Oklahoma Career and Technology Education. Friedemann said Tuttle always surrounded himself with “idea people.” This habit helped him create the infrastructure that still supports CTE in Oklahoma today.
Over the next few days, I would walk around the conference hotel and pop into various sessions. I’d listen in on the conversations and Friedemann’s words about “idea people” kept coming back to me.
As the staff member who is responsible for member engagement, leadership development and the Advance CTE meetings, I was struck by how many “idea people” were in these session rooms both as speakers and attendees. My favorite part of each session is the rich cross-state sharing and “a-ha moments.” Those were in abundance at this year’s Fall Meeting, and I know this was driven by the people in the room.
This year’s meeting saw attendees from 46 states and the District of Columbia, and they hailed from all corners of the CTE landscape – from K-12 and postsecondary to workforce development and even industry representatives. A point of pride for me was that 77 percent of attendees are Advance CTE members, and of that, 25 percent are brand-new members experiencing their first Advance CTE meeting. Most of these new members are part of Advance CTE’s newly expanded state membership structure.
Advance CTE members enjoy up to 35 percent off the price of a regular registration. Join today and take advantage of discounted registration rates for the 2018 Advance CTE Spring Meeting, which will be held April 4-6 in Washington, DC.
Staff Reflection: States Leading the Way in Shifting the Perception of CTE
Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications
CTE’s continued success is evident in the compelling sessions held throughout the Fall Meeting, where states were featured prominently in sessions spanning a variety of topics from supporting rural learners through innovative strategies, to strengthening secondary-postsecondary credit alignment.
While dedicated state leaders have continued to focus on program quality and demonstrated that Career Technical Education is an option that is truly for all learners, states are still grappling with how to ensure that students, parents, employers, educators and policymakers understand that CTE sets up learners for both college and careers.
To tackle the ongoing CTE stigma challenge, we dedicated a half day of sessions to highlight our communications and messaging research and explore how states are improving their communications in an effort to shift the perception of CTE.
The day began with a panel featuring leaders from Washington and Maryland, who shared their findings from a one-year pilot that tested communications and recruitment strategies anchored by our research outlined in “The Value and Promise of Career Technical Education.” Both states focused on virtual campaigns including developing a video template that Washington’s 200+ districts can use to ‘sell’ their own CTE programs, and developing sample social media posts and a how-to social media guide for two districts in Maryland.
Following the panel, attendees were able to choose from four workshops to further dig into the most effective ways to communicate about CTE including:
- Advocacy 101: How to Advocate Effectively for CTE;
- Leveraging Your CTE Champions to Reach Parents;
- Building Effective Messages to Communicate About CTE with Parents and Students; and
- Maximizing Employer Engagement