Dr. Karen Salmon, the newest State CTE Director in Maryland and the current interim Deputy State Superintendent, has deep roots in Career Technical Education (CTE). She spent most of her career in Maryland serving roles that span the education sector, including teacher, an evaluator and coordinator to support people with disabilities at a CTE center, administrator, and assistant superintendent. From working on the ground as an educator to serving as a superintendent in both New York and Maryland, Salmon has a breadth of expertise and knowledge about how CTE works from the classroom to the state level.
In taking over as the State CTE Director, Salmon is focused on fine tuning the programs in the state. This includes further developing programs of study in the STEM Career Cluster, which resulted in an almost $1 million grant to promote biomedical programs in Maryland.
Additionally, the state is honing in on what it means for their students to be college and career ready, in which CTE will play a large role. To that end, Salmon is working on an initiative in response to a Senate bill requiring all students to be college and career ready by their junior year. When looking to the future, Salmon believes there needs to be a shifting of priorities of students, parents and the education system. “What we need to tell our kids is that everyone needs to be preparing for a career,” said Salmon. “College is not a career. College is the most expensive career development program we could ever have. We have to confront this idea that everyone is going to go to college.”
Despite CTE’s strength in preparing students for both college and careers, like many states, Maryland is facing a perception challenge. “We have to change the mindsets of many parents, teachers, and counselors all the way up the line about what the goals of CTE programs of study are. While it remains difficult, we’re constantly working on how to market ourselves more strategically and positively,” said Salmon. One of the ways this is being accomplished is through stronger student organizations, which help communicate the value of CTE to not only students, but also their parents.
We look forward to Salmon’s leadership in promoting college and career readiness, and advocacy in CTE’s important across the state.
Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate