Welcome to Elaine Perea, New Mexico’s State CTE Director!

February 2nd, 2017

When Elaine Perea was studying ancient Greek philosophers at St. John’s College in 1990, she never imagined she would one day become the State Director for Career Technical Education (CTE) in New Mexico.

Yet, her first job after graduating was as a bookkeeper, and she soon realized she had a knack for numbers and finance. This led into varied career in business including accounting and eventually to an investment company where she bought commercial office buildings. Over time, however, this began to wear, she said. So Perea decided to return to college once more; this time, to earn her doctorate in social psychology and enter the next phase of her professional career – as a college professor in Florida, where she taught for three years.

But New Mexico was home, so when a position became available over two years ago in the state’s Public Education Department, she was able to leverage her unique blend of business experience and teaching to get hired as an Education Administrator. Shortly after joining the department, she assumed additional responsibilities as the Deputy Director of CTE.

After being named as the State CTE Director in January, Perea said she intends to continue focusing on how to increase secondary students’ access to CTE. In New Mexico, roughly half of school districts have fewer than 200 students and many struggle to offer a three-course program of study due to enrollments and resources.

Perea also said another of her top priorities is to increase the use of dual credit courses in secondary CTE programs, and to encourage students to take such courses as part of their program sequence. To do this, Perea said she is working closely with the state bodies that govern higher education enrollment policies.

“We believe dual credit is an important tool in supporting rigorous CTE programs and helping students get the credentials they need for entering into the workforce,” Perea said.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate for Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Welcome to Quentin Suffren, Texas’ New State CTE Director!

January 24th, 2017

Quentin Suffren admits he’s not your usual State Director for Career Technical Education (CTE).

For more than 16 years, Suffren worked in both the nonprofit and private sectors, leading large-scale education projects such as managing data and reporting systems with the New York-based Amplify Education, implementing a teacher evaluation system with The New Teacher Project in Houston, Texas, and serving as the chief academic officer for The Learning Institute.

In August 2016, he joined the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to serve as the Executive Director for College, Career and Military Prep, which includes the state’s CTE office.

The TEA reorganized last year, and as a result, CTE gained a higher profile within the department when the state joined the Pathways to Prosperity Network, which is a group of states working to build seamless career pathway systems that link high school, work and postsecondary education. The career pathways initiative is what brought Suffren to the agency, and since joining in August, has been working to coordinate the state’s efforts.

“What became really clear as I joined TEA, a lot of those pathways run directly through CTE,” Suffren said. “This puts CTE in the limelight and acknowledges that it is direct preparatory pathway to college and careers.”

In his new role, Suffren said he is looking forward to finding new and better ways to increase students’ access to high quality career pathways, expanding college and career counseling for all students and their parents, and removing barriers to work-based learning.

“It’s not college or career anymore. It’s both, and CTE is a huge part of that,” Suffren said.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate of Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Welcome to Lynne Gilli, Maryland’s New State CTE Director!

January 10th, 2017

In 1972, Lynne Gilli was a high school senior, an honors student and on track to attend university the following year. But when she requested to take cosmetology classes at her district’s career center, her high school counselor was shocked and actively discouraged the idea.

Because all of her graduation requirements were met, Gilli defied the counselor and took the cosmetology classes, hoping that she could use those skills to help pay her way through college.

Though few may have predicted the impact of that decision, it ultimately led Gilli to being named the Assistant State Superintendent for the Division of Career and College Readiness by the Maryland State Board of Education in October 2016.

Gilli is no stranger to the state’s office for Career Technical Education (CTE) – or career and technology education as it is known in Maryland. In fact, she landed her first job there in 1982 after receiving her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Over 34 years, she has worked in various positions in the state CTE office, including coordinating two Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs), managing  CTE state planning and Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reporting, and then leading the office’s CTE instructional branch.

“This is a great learning organization,” Gilli said. “I’ve learned a lot from working here.”

During more than three decades as a state CTE leader, Gilli has seen CTE evolve from the narrowly focused, terminal vocational education. Today, CTE students are expected to have the same academic preparation, and now have greater opportunities to explore high-skill, high-wage professional career fields such as engineering, bio-medical studies and computer science. The “new” CTE enables students to earn early college credit and industry-recognized credentials before leaving high school.

“It’s exploded into a much more appealing way to learn. Students aren’t just memorizing procedures anymore. They’re working in teams, learning to communicate and making presentations,” Gilli said. “Through participation in CTSOs – these students are at the top of their game and earning national recognition for their skills.”

Under her leadership, Gilli plans to expand students’ access to high-quality CTE programs of study at secondary and postsecondary levels to better prepare graduates for lifelong learning and success.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate for Member Engagement and Leadership Development

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

 

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