Welcome to Arizona’s New State CTE Director, Cathie Raymond

May 1st, 2017

Cathie Raymond had her mind made up at 14 years old while sitting in her home economics class – she was going to teach Career Technical Education (CTE) when she grew up. And for 43 years, she did exactly that, first in Missouri and then in Arizona.

Now she’s ready for a new challenge. In April, she became the State CTE Director for Arizona, and said she’s excited to leverage her years of experience in the field to help more teachers.

“My whole goal is make everyone’s job easier,” Raymond said. “Just because it’s always been done that way – is it the best way? [I want to do] anything I can to help the local directors to make sure they aren’t so overwhelmed and they don’t have to put things on their teachers, who are overwhelmed. I want to help them free up more time for teachers to teach and focus on their students.”

Raymond said she hopes to find more ways to tell the story of CTE in Arizona by better leveraging the data of student’s successes including and beyond graduation rates.

For the past decade, Raymond has served as the CTE director for Marana Unified School District, which is located near Tucson, Arizona. The district has the largest land mass of any in the state – 550 square miles.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate for Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Welcome to Alaska’s New State CTE Director, Deborah Riddle!

March 28th, 2017

Deborah Riddle was born in Glennallen, Alaska, and raised near Bristol Bay, on the western coast of the state. When she made her way many years later to southern Utah to be a teacher, there was one problem – it was just too hot.

So Riddle and her husband began looking for jobs back home in Alaska, and as a back-up plan, “as close to the Canadian border as possible,” she said.

That led her to Simms, Montana, to teach middle school math and science. When the school district also needed someone to teach Career Technical Education (CTE), Riddle stepped up. What first began with teaching traditional home economics classes then grew into robotics classes and even helping start and support related Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) at the local high school.

After 15 years in Montana, home was still calling, so Riddle took a position with the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. She started at the State department five years ago doing school improvement focusing on mathematics. For the past year, Riddle has managed the state’s federal funding under Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The state department recently reorganized, and with those changes, Riddle’s responsibilities expanded, including the title of State CTE Director and responsibilities of managing another source of federal funding through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins).

Riddle said she is excited by the prospects of making connections across the federal education laws to maximize funding and other opportunities for Alaska’s students. Since being named the State Director in February, she has been learning all that she can about CTE in Alaska, and said she has been so impressed by the depth and diversity of the stakeholder support she sees for CTE at the local level, especially the connections to employers, community colleges and workforce development.

“I knew there were partnerships, but I didn’t realize how many and how varied there were and what (stakeholder engagement) can really add to a program,” she said.

Riddle said she is also looking to bolster CTSOs in Alaska and continuing to strengthen and overcome the unique challenges to offering CTE for the state’s most rural schools.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Getting to Know… Missouri

March 7th, 2017

Note: This is part of Advance CTE’s blog series, “Getting to Know…” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, partners and more.

State Name: Missouri

State CTE Director: Dr. Blaine Henningsen, Assistant Commissioner, Office of College and Career Readiness, Department of Elementary & Secondary Education

About Missouri: The issue keeping state leaders in Missouri’s Office of College and Career Readiness up at night is figuring out how to ensure quality in Career Technical Education (CTE) programs across the state. Missouri is home to 57 area career centers, 450 comprehensive high schools, 12 community college districts and one state technical college that provide CTE courses to more than 244,000 students combined. As in other states, quality varies from district to district. That’s why, in 2013, Missouri worked to identify the menu of indicators that best reflect high-quality CTE programs. Eventually, the Office of College and Career Readiness settled on six criteria to guide and promote quality, called the “Common Criteria and Quality Indicators,” which were launched publicly in 2015. The indicators describe necessary components related to curriculum, instruction, assessment and more.

At the moment, the Quality Indicators carry no weight in the state’s accountability or funding structure, though Missouri is redesigning its CTE funding formula to better integrate and promote the six criteria. The plan is to roll out an updated formula in the 2018-19 school year to ensure state funds go to support quality programs. In the meantime, the Quality Indicators framework is available as a self-evaluation tool for local programs.

Programs of Study: Missouri’s programs of study follow the national Career Clusters framework and are further organized into six content areas:

  • Agricultural Education;
  • Business, Marketing and Informational Technology Education;
  • Family Consumer Sciences and Human Services Education;
  • Health Sciences;
  • Skilled Technical Sciences; and
  • Technology and Engineering Education.

Agricultural education and business are two of the most popular programs in the state, though manufacturing has enjoyed increased popularity as the sector has grown in the decade since the economic crisis.

Students enrolled in CTE programs are also encouraged to participate in work-based learning opportunities and take industry credentialing examinations. Schools earn additional points toward their “college and career readiness” score for these students. Additionally, the state has an Apprenticeship USA grant to support Registered Apprenticeships. To encourage vertical alignment between secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, Missouri offers dual enrollment opportunities for students to begin earning credit toward a postsecondary degree while they are still enrolled in high school. There is also a representative from the postsecondary system on the state’s CTE Advisory Council (more on that below).

Noteworthy in Missouri: The state legislature recently made two significant changes to the Missouri CTE system. First, it established a CTE Advisory Council, which includes four members from the general assembly and 11 other individuals appointed by the Commissioner of Education. The Council meets four times annually and provides guidance and recommendations on strengthening Missouri’s CTE programs. The Council was convened for the first time in January, 2017.

Another new and notable policy in Missouri is the adoption of a Career Education Certificate that students can earn in addition to their high school diploma. The policy was adopted by the state legislature in 2016, and the Office of College and Career Readiness, with support from the CTE Advisory Council, is in the process of defining the certificate requirements. Under the current proposal, the certificate will be available to CTE concentrators who pass a technical skill assessment or earn an industry-recognized credential, complete work-based learning experiences, and meet certain GPA and attendance requirements. The Office aims to implement the certificate beginning in the 2017-18 school year.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Welcome Emily Passias, Ohio’s new State CTE Director!

July 5th, 2016

Passias_Emily (1)Before being tapped to serve as the Ohio State CTE Director in March 2016, Emily Passias spent about three years working in the state Department of Education’s data and accountability unit. It was there that she had her first “aha moment” in CTE. Prior to her stint in the state accountability office, Passias admits that much of her exposure to CTE had come from her eighth grade field trip to her local Career Center.

Passias said she believes strongly in using data to drive decision making, so it makes sense that her “aha moment” would come while looking at student outcomes data, where she saw how CTE improves graduation rates, keeps students in school and provides a pathway to further education as well as employment. From there, she learned about the state’s career counseling efforts and multitude of initiatives to advance high-quality CTE.

This caused her to reflect on her time spent teaching sociology at the Ohio State University, about how many of her students still felt directionless by their junior or senior year of college, and how so many of them would have benefited from being having more robust career exploration at a much earlier age. While finishing her doctorate at Ohio State, Passias joined the Department of Education, where she worked on several notable initiatives including the K-12 value-added accountability system to measure college and career readiness, the state’s CTE report cards and implementation around the newly passed legislation that created a CTE pathway to graduation.

While working in the data office, Passias increasingly found herself working on CTE initiatives, which helped ease her transition to State Director. Passias said she plans to continue using data to drive decision making as well as using that data to communicate the value of CTE and its many initiatives, including the ongoing implementation of the new graduation requirements. Though her new position is sure to keep her very busy, Passias also serves as a Strategic Data Project Fellow with the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Introducing Dwight Johnson, State Director of Idaho

October 9th, 2014

Photo of DwightWe are pleased to welcome Idaho’s new State Director of Career Technical Education Dwight Johnson!

Officially the Administrator of Idaho’s Division of Professional-Technical Education, State Director Johnson has worked for decades in the Idaho Departments of Labor and Commerce on workforce development, and also spent 18 months as the interim executive director of the Idaho State Board of Education.

State Director Johnson emphasizes the cross-cutting nature of his experience, bridging the worlds of work and education among labor, industry and education. He sees collaboration between all three as vital to making CTE learning that works for Idaho.

“It’s crucial to connect systems and create more seamless transitions between education providers,” he said in an interview with NASDCTEc last month.

During the same conversation, State Director Johnson repeatedly cited the need to integrate CTE with workforce development priorities and workforce data to ensure that at every level – secondary, postsecondary and beyond – CTE serves students and stakeholders reliably and adaptively.

Learn more about Idaho CTE here, and welcome State Director Johnson at the 2014 Fall Meeting!

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Please Welcome Dr. Pradeep Kotamraju, New State CTE Director for Iowa

January 24th, 2014

We are pleased to announce Dr. Pradeep Kotamraju has accepted the position of Chief of the Bureau of Career and Technical Education, Division of Community Colleges, Iowa Department of Education.

He most recently served as the deputy director of the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (CTE) at the University of Louisville.  His extensive prior experience includes serving as the Minnesota CTE/Perkins system director and in various other positions within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and the Minnesota Department of Economic Security (now Employment and Economic Development).  In Minnesota, he provided leadership for the development of secondary and postsecondary Perkins consortia and grant activities supporting adult education career pathway development.

Before entering the public sector, Dr. Kotamraju taught at several higher education institutions.  Pradeep is a prolific writer and researcher with a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Illinois and degrees from George Washington University and the University of Delhi.  Among other work, he has served as a senior consultant for Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant evaluations, president of the Association for CTE Research, and on the National Council on Workforce Education Board.Pradeep_Kotamraju_72ppi

As chief of the CTE bureau, Pradeep will be responsible for the direction of statewide efforts related to secondary and postsecondary CTE and veterans education. This includes connecting research, policy, and practice to advance secondary CTE modernization and representing Iowa nationally as the state director for CTE.

When asked about his new role, Pradeep said “I am excited to become Iowa’s State CTE Director and join a team at the Iowa Department of Education that is already undertaking many wide-ranging projects involving secondary CTE, community colleges, adult education, and workforce development, all working together to rethink Iowa’s CTE programs, administration, policy, and accountability systems. The overarching goal of these endeavors is to ensure that all Iowans are able to access a fully vibrant 21st century CTE.”

Please welcome Pradeep, who can be reached at pradeep.kotamraju@iowa.gov.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

NASDCTEc Welcomes State Director Russell Weikle of California

September 12th, 2013

Russell Weikle, a key veteran of state and national Career Technical Education efforts, is the new director of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) Career and College Transition Division.

Russ WeikleAs director of the Career and College Transition Division, Russ provides leadership and guidance to five education units covering the 15 CTE industry sectors; Regional Occupational Centers and Programs; more than 400 California Partnership Academies; linked learning research and development; 21st Century skills research and development; California Career Technical Student Organizations; high school innovation and initiatives; post-secondary program relations; Perkins federal program management; and several other career and college initiatives.

Russell joined the California Department of Education in 2001, and has served as a consultant, administrator, and State Director for SkillsUSA. He has been the Administrator for the Carl D. Perkins grant office since 2005 and was the catalyst in the development and implementation of the 2008 State Plan for CTE. Most recently, he led the effort to revise the CTE Model Curriculum Standards, which were approved by the California State Board of Education in January 2013.

In 2011, the Association of California School Administrators recognized Mr. Weikle as the California CTE Administrator of the Year in recognition for his long time dedication to the improvement of CTE in California.

Prior to his assignment at the California Department of Education, Russell served as a middle school principal, a high school counselor and CTE instructor.

Russell earned an MA in Industrial Technology and a BA in Industrial Arts from California State University, Fresno. He holds credentials in School Administration, Counseling, Industrial Arts education, and a Designated Subjects credential in Carpentry.

Russell has been serving as the interim State CTE Director since Dr. Patrick Ainsworth’s November 2012 retirement.

NASDCTEc welcomes Russell Weikle, a true CTE advocate. He can be reached at RWeikle@cde.ca.gov.

For additional information please visit the California Career and College Transition Division web page.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

Please Welcome New Indiana State Director Dr. Peggy Wild

May 6th, 2013

NASDCTEc welcomes Dr. Peggy Wild, CFCS, State Director of Career & Technical Education and Assistant Director of College & Career Readiness Curriculum for STEM & CTE in Indiana, after serving as Interim in these same positions.  Until this appointment, Dr. Wild was the State Program Leader for Family & Consumer Sciences (F&CS).  She has served as the project director for Indiana’s College & Career Pathways Development & Implementation Project and liaison to Indiana’s consortium for alternate licensure of CTE teachers.  Participation in leader roles in Indiana’s esteemed CTE community provides Peggy with many opportunities to collaborate with state agencies, education entities and professional associations for the advancement of CTE.Wild 2013 at IN FCCLA

Prior to joining the Indiana Department of Education, Peggy was national marketing manager for CTE at Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, Director of Education & Publications at the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS), State Supervisor for F&CS at the New Hampshire Department of Education, and Assistant Professor and F&CS Teacher Education Coordinator at the University of Arizona.  Her early career consisted of classroom teaching in F&CS, language arts, and elementary special education and management positions in the hospitality industry.

Dr. Wild’s professional activities include serving as national president for AAFCS, F&CS Education Association (FCSEA) and the National Association for State Administrators of F&CS.  She participated on the management team to develop national standards for F&CS and coordinated the last review and revision of those standards.  She has presented at multiple national and state conferences on topics such as pathway assessments and industry recognized certifications, work based learning, integrating common core standards in CTE curriculum, best practices in F&CS, increasing dual credit opportunities, and alternate routes to CTE teacher licensure.

Peggy earned bachelor’s degrees in F&CS and elementary education, a master’s degree in F&CS Education, and a PhD in curriculum, instruction and assessment from the University of Arizona. She holds the national CFCS (Certified in Family & Consumer Sciences) credential.  She was awarded the Honorary Doctorate by Purdue University’s College of Education and Consumer and Family Sciences for outstanding service and leadership in F&CS innovation and improvement.  Other honors include AAFCS’s Distinguished Service and National Leader awards, ACTE’s Award of Merit and Region Three Outstanding Teacher Educator, FCSEA’s Outstanding Educator and FCCLA’s Distinguished Service Award.  

Peggy says that service to CTE and F&CS has brought rich rewards and she looks forward to active participation in NASDCTEc’s organization and activities.

We extend a warm welcome to Dr. Wild. She can be reached at pwild@doe.in.gov.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

Please Welcome Todd Schwarz, State Director for Idaho

March 14th, 2013

NASDCTEc is pleased to welcome new State Director Dr. Todd Schwarz, Administrator of the Idaho Division of Professional-Technical Education. The value of Career Technical Education was found early in his career when he found relevance and success at the College of Southern Idaho (CSI). He first discovered the Drafting Technology Program, then found employment in the industry, and then returned to CSI to teach the program from which he’d graduated. As he continued to pursue his education part time, new opportunities arose and he entered into program coordination, department chairmanship, and was eventually promoted to Instructional Dean for technical programs at CSI. While working at CSI, Dr. Schwarz completed a Bachelor’s degree in Trade and Industrial Education from the University of Idaho, a Master’s degree in Educational Technology from Boise State University, a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Idaho, and the Idaho PTE Leadership Institute.

ToddAbout the Idaho Division of Professional-Technical Education

The Division of Professional-Technical Education is responsible for secondary, postsecondary, and adult professional-technical programs that are delivered throughout all Idaho public school districts and to the six technical colleges at the College of Western Idaho, College of Southern Idaho, Eastern Idaho Technical College, Idaho State University, Lewis-Clark State College, and North Idaho College. Professional-technical education programs start at the 9th grade and provide the foundation for portable, stackable credentials that can be pursued after high school at the postsecondary level up to, and including, an Associate of Applied Science degree. Tech Prep provides an Advanced Learning Opportunity for high school students seeking postsecondary credit. PTE provides a valuable relevance and application to many traditional subjects, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The Division of Professional-Technical Education provides technical assistance to both teachers and administrators in school districts and the technical colleges. In addition, the Division provides resources and facilitates industry input in the development of statewide curricula to meet industry standards. The Division also works in collaboration with other agencies to address the changing needs of the workforce and supports this collaboration with apprenticeship and short term training through the Workforce Training Network (WTN).

In his new role as Administrator of the Idaho Division of Professional-Technical Education, Dr. Schwarz continues to improve, advocate for, and promote Career Technical Education in Idaho.
Please join NASDCTEc in a warm welcome to Dr. Schwarz. He may be reached at todd.schwarz@pte.idaho.gov.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

Please Welcome Ms. Kathleen Cullen, Wisconsin State Director

January 30th, 2013

NASDCTEc is pleased to welcome Ms. Kathleen Cullen, new State Director of Wisconsin.

Ms. Cullen was named Vice President of Teaching and Learning for the Wisconsin Technical College System in 2005. Prior to that role she served first, as an Education Director for Family and Consumer Education and then, as the Associate Vice President for Instruction. Recently, with the appointment of a new President for the System, her title changed to Provost and Vice President of Student Success to reflect the importance of acknowledging the integration of instruction and student services. In her current position Kathy provides leadership and administrative oversight for the development and delivery of the WTCS technical college educational programs, student services and assessment, economic development and adult basic education.

Kathy’s responsibilities to provide administrative oversight for activities and plans related to Wisconsin’s post-secondary programs and services, including both AEFL and Perkins creates opportunities to partner with many entities in the state and nationally. For example, her work with Perkins is dependent upon successful collaboration with Wisconsin’s K-12 community and the Department of Public Instruction. She is currently a member of Wisconsin’s Career Readiness Partnership with a focus on implementation of the Common Core. Wisconsin is a leader in the development of Career Pathways, both for youth and adults and in that work she and her staff have reached out to numerous partners to include Wisconsin’s workforce development entities, community based organizations and both the private and public four year systems.

Ms. Cullen began her career in education as a Family and Consumer Education teacher but it was during the time she worked for the University of Wisconsin Extension that she fully realized her desire to work with adult education. Kathy has a bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Education and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin Madison, with an emphasis on Adult Education. She has over 35 years of leadership experience in secondary and post-secondary education and looks forward to working with the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education and it prestigious membership.

We offer a warm welcome to Ms. Cullen, who can be reached at kathleen.cullen@wtcsystem.edu.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager