Meet Mark Williams, Upcoming New NASDCTEc Secretary-Treasurer

May 27th, 2011

At the Joint National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education/Office of Vocational and Adult Education (NASDCTEc/OVAE) Spring leadership meeting, the members elected Mark Williams to the post of Secretary-Treasurer, adding his talents to the Executive Officer Board, which includes Ms. Marie Barry, New Jersey, as upcoming Vice President, and Dr. Patrick Ainsworth, California, upcoming President. These new appointments will be effective July 1st.  At the meeting, the attendees offered a special thanks to Dr. Phil Berkenbile for his wonderful devoted service during this past year toward our organization and to career technical education (CTE). Dr. Berkenbile will continue in the role of Past President, continuing the momentum along with Marie and Pat, of excellent leadership for our organization. Our current Past President, June Sanford of Connecticut, will be off the Board; we congratulate June on her service and dedication on the Board these past several years.

Mark is a former high school teacher and administrator who has served for six years as Illinois State Director of Career and Technical Education.  During his tenure, he has been a founding member of the Coalition for Illinois High Schools, a member of several Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Taskforces devoted to addressing the critical skills shortages of Illinois.  Most recently, he has focused on the Illinois Curriculum Revitalization Project as well as the development of STEM Learning Exchanges in Illinois.

Mark is a native of Illinois and lives with his family in the farm town of Delavan. He holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago and advanced degrees from the Angelicum University. He has taught at the secondary and post-graduate level.  Mark’s philosophy of education is that true learning is hard work, fun, and never ceases.

When asked for his goals for NASDCTEc, Mark responded:

-Partner with membership and leadership to advance the implementation of the new CTE vision.

-Strengthen collaboration with OVAE, education stakeholders, and industry

-Bring more resources to implementation of rigorous programs of study

-Promote innovation in CTE

-Assist in the important work of the National Research Center for Career Technical Education (NRCCTE)

-Build our national network of stakeholders and other who share our vision

-Strengthen role of CTE in the implementation and assessment of the Common Core Standards

-Advance the significance of measured competencies rather than Carnegie units as measure of High School student progress

We welcome Mark to the Board! He can be reached at

In other Board news, Dr. Frances Beauman will be the new Associate Member Representative for the NASDCTEc Board of Directors, filling this position after term ends June 30 for Ms. Kathy Wilkins of Montana. We want to thank Kathy for her dedicated service to the Board.

Additional new NASDCTEc Board Representatives include Dr. James (Bob) Couch, South Carolina, representing Region IV, and Mr. Eric Suhr, New York, new Region II representative. We want to thank Ms. Jean C. Stevens and Mr. Ralph Barnett all the best in their retirements.

Please Welcome New State Director Theresa Vendrzyk Kough, DE

March 25th, 2011

The Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) is pleased to announce Theresa Vendrzyk Kough has begun her new duties as the Director for Title I and Career Technical Resources within the College and Workforce Readiness Branch, effective October 11, 2010. Ms. Kough brings in-depth expertise in federal and state program administration, extensive experience with agency policies and procedures, and an extensive IT systems background. 

Ms. Kough has been employed at the Department since January, 1995.  In that time she has worked in the Career, Technical and Title I Resources work group, Curriculum Development work group, School Improvement work group and as the Director of the Technology Management and Design work group. She has worked as state program manager for both state and federal programs and provided technical assistance to districts on the use of federal and state funds.

In addition, prior to working at the Department Ms. Kough was employed by the New Castle County Vocational and Technical (NCCVT) School District and was an active participant in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) reform initiative High Schools That Work.  She was highly involved in the planning and implementation of the reform effort at both the district and school level.

She brings a combination of managerial skills, program management skills, data systems management experiences and experience in school and district restructuring to her new position.

NASDCTEc welcomes Ms. Kough to the State Director family!

Meet June Sanford, NASDCTEc Past President

March 8th, 2011

“Meet Your Board Member” series continues…

In order for our members to know the individuals who serve them at the national level, NASDCTEc is presenting a blog series called “Meet Your Board Members;” today we are featuring June Sanford, Past President.

 June SanfordJune Sanford joined the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) in 1999 as an education consultant for school-based School-to-Career and Cooperative Work Education programs. She serves as State Director of Career Technical Education and Perkins Program Manager responsible for grant administration, performance accountability data, state-wide program monitoring, and implementation of the Connecticut Career Clusters/Pathway Initiative. June co-chairs the CSDE partnership team for the High School, College, and Workforce Alignment and is a state representative for the five-state New England Secondary School Consortium, League of Innovative Schools Committee, dedicated to student success. In addition, June co-leads the CSDE initiative for the Student Success Plan legislated under the Connecticut Plan for Secondary School Reform.

On the national level, as Connecticut State Director of Career and Technical Education since 2003, June currently serves as Past President of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium. During her tenure as President, a new Vision for Career Technical Education was established by the Association, “Reflect, Transform, Lead:  A New Vision for Career Technical Education”, focused on the preparedness of students for college- and career-readiness.

Before joining the State Department of Education, June was a secondary education teacher for business, marketing, cooperative work education, and social studies, an advisor for DECA and the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and grant administrator. She holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Post University and a M.S. degree in Business Education from Central Connecticut State University. Prior to becoming a secondary education teacher, she was employed in Corporate Human Resources for Timex Corporation as a Compensation Analyst and Benefits Accountant…June has learned how to “take a licking and keep on ticking”.

When asked her goals while in office, Ms. Sanford said her goals were “to assist the NASDCTEc to establish an agenda and policies to bring CTE to the forefront of education and make public an understanding of the importance of CTE as preparation for all students to be successful in life and in the global economy.”

We thank Ms. Sanford for sharing her personal insight and goals for our organization. She can be reached at

Meet NASDCTEc Secretary-Treasurer Marie Barry of New Jersey

February 22nd, 2011

In order for our members to know the individuals who serve them at the national level, NASDCTEc is presenting a blog series called “Meet Your Board Members;” today we are featuring Secretary-Treasurer Ms. Marie Barry, from New Jersey.

Ms. Barry is currently director of the Office of Career and Technical Education at the New Jersey Department of Education.  In this capacity she administers all activities and plans related to the Carl D. Perkins Education Improvement Act and serves as the state director for career and technical education for secondary and postsecondary CTE programs.  She is also a member of the department’s cross-divisional team addressing secondary education transformation, and, specifically, provides leadership for the pilot program on the development of personalized student learning plans.

Ms. Barry has served in various capacities at the NJ Department of Education since 1999.  She has coordinated the High Schools That Work Initiative, administered initiatives related to career development and school counseling and coordinates with workforce development entities to promote articulation between education, the business and labor communities and other stakeholders.  During her tenure in the NJ DOE, Ms. Barry has also been responsible for the administration of programs related to career and technical student organizations.  She served as the liaison with the office of Special Education on issues related to developing plans and policies to promote the successful transition of special education students under the School-to-Work initiative.   

Ms. Barry currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association for State Directors in Career and Technical Education Consortium and serves as the State Director liaison to the FFA and ACTE Board of Directors.   In the past she has also served on the executive committee of the National Association for Workforce Improvement and the New Jersey School Counselor Association. She represents the Commissioner on the State Employment and Training Commission and the Governors School Board of Overseers.

Prior to joining the department, Ms. Barry worked as a career counselor and specialist where she served youth and adults in the community. She designed programs to address the varied career development needs of students, the entering workforce, displaced workers and incumbent workers.  She is a certified school counselor, a national certified counselor and a certified rehabilitation counselor.  Ms Barry holds a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University and a Masters in Education from Seton Hall University.

In reflecting on her office, Ms. Barry stated “It is an honor to be serving in this leadership position in such a critical time for career and technical education.  It is my goal to enhance the awareness of the potential of CTE to positively impact on our entire educational system.  To do this, it is imperative that we focus on evidence and outcomes that demonstrate success and strengthen our collaboration with our multiple partners in education and workforce development.  With the launch of the new vision, State Directors across the nation have a unique opportunity to elevate CTE to a new level and promote it as a vehicle for success for all students.”

We thank Ms. Barry for sharing her personal insight and goals for our organization. She can be reached at

Meet NASDCTEc Vice President Patrick Ainsworth

February 15th, 2011

In order for our members to know the individuals who serve them at the national level, NASDCTEc is presenting a blog series called “Meet Your Board Members”; today we are featuring Vice President Patrick Ainsworth, who hails from California.

Patrick AinsworthDr. Patrick Ainsworth joined the California Department of Education (CDE) in November 1996. Currently, he serves as Assistant Superintendent of the Secondary, Postsecondary, and Career Education Division. He oversees secondary education, including middle and high school education, college preparation programs, postsecondary relations, adult education, career technical education, and workforce preparation programs. A few examples of responsibilities include middle and high school reform, smaller learning communities, Partnership Academies, Regional Occupational Centers and Programs, gender equity compliance, business and industry partnerships, and oversight of state and federal programs totaling over $1 billion in annual revenues. Patrick also works at the federal level designated as the State Director of Career Technical Education and State Director of Adult Education.

Prior to joining the CDE, Patrick worked for the Riverside County Office of Education, where he served as the Administrator of a countywide consortium consisting of nineteen school districts devoted to educating and career training for disadvantaged and at-risk high school aged youth. He also served as Principal-Coordinator, Instructional Specialist, and Counselor while at the county office. Patrick began his career in education as a substitute teacher, transitioned into teaching of severely handicapped youth and adults, and served as a high school counselor for nine years at Lake Elsinore and La Sierra High Schools.

Dr. Ainsworth earned his Doctorate in Educational Management and Leadership from University of La Verne (July 2000). His dissertation was titled, Policy Alternatives for Increasing the Number of California’s Graduating High School Students Having the Essential Employability Skills Necessary to Compete in the New Economy. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science (1975), Master’s Degree in Education-Counseling (1977) at California State University San Bernardino, and holds credentials in Pupil Personnel Services and Professional Administrative Services.

Among Patrick’s accomplishments:

  • Patrick led the development of the recently released report titled Multiple Pathways to Student Success: Envisioning the New California High School (2010), which calls for substantial system-wide policy changes to transform California’s high schools to increase student outcomes.
  • He supervised the development of the award winning high school reform book titled, Aiming High, High Schools for the 21st Century (May 2002), which is in wide use throughout California and the nation.
  • He led the development of the state board approved Career Technical Education Model Curriculum Standards publication (May 2005) and the CTE Framework (January 2007).
  • His division released the on-line document for middle schools, Taking Center Stage Act II (April 2008).
  • He co-authored the February 2000 report, California Workforce Development: A Policy Framework for Economic Growth.
  • He was also the principal author for the California Department of Education’s widely cited policy document, Workforce Investment Act, Policy Issues and Options for Education (January 1999).

Like other NASDCTEc Board members, Patrick’s professional involvement reaches beyond the CTE sphere, including his role as the Superintendent’s Designee on the California Workforce Investment Board, Joint Boards Advisory Committee, Community College Economic Development Policy Advisory Council, and numerous other key groups. He serves as Co-President of the California Career Resource Network, and is the Vice President to the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education consortium. For five years he has been a member of the California State University San Bernardino School of Education Dean’s Advisory Committee. He has also served as President of the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs, Chair of the ACSA Region 3 Secondary Education Council, and on the Board of LEED Sacramento, Linking Education and Economic Development. During 1995, Dr. Ainsworth was President of the American Lung Association (ALA) of the Inland Counties and participated in developing the ALA Strategic Plans at the State and National levels. He has also served on the Board of Directors for both the San Bernardino YMCA and the Tri-Valley YMCA.

In addition to these experiences, Patrick has worked for the YMCA, was a musician and recording engineer, and for seven years hosted a weekly television show for the King Video Cable System. Pat is married to his wonderful wife and partner of 35 years, Karen. They have three fabulous children – Amanda and twins Randy and Ryan. In his spare time Pat enjoys gardening, woodworking, snow skiing, water sports, and fishing.

Patrick indicated his primary goals as a NASDCTEc Board member is “to strengthen CTE as Perkins and ESEA are reauthorized and to increase funding to expand CTE opportunities for all students.”

We thank Dr. Ainsworth for providing personal insight and sharing his goals for our organization. He can be reached at

Meet Dr. Phil Berkenbile, NASDCTEc President

February 10th, 2011

In order for our members to know the individuals who serve them at the national level, NASDCTEc is presenting a blog series called “Meet Your Board Members”, beginning with Dr. Phil Berkenbile, our President.

Berkenbile began his career in Oklahoma as an agricultural education instructor for Morrison Public Schools.  He joined the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech in 1988 as the agricultural education northwest district supervisor and curriculum specialist.  In 1994 he became the agricultural education assistant state supervisor.  A year later Berkenbile left the agency to become the superintendent of schools in Morrison. He returned to the agency in 1999 as the associate state director of educational services.  In April 2003, he was selected as chief of staff, and in May 2003 he began serving as interim state director, and was named State Director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education in 2004, by its State Board.

Like every dedicated State Director, Berkenbile serves as Chairman of the Governor’s Taskforce on Healthcare, and is a Board member on the Governor’s Taskforce on Aerospace and Information Security, the Oklahoma Manufacturers Alliance Board, the State Insurance Advisory Council, and the State Workforce Development Board.  He is President of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education (NASDCTE), past-chair of the Oklahoma Education Technology Trust (OETT) Foundation, Board member of the Oklahoma Community Institute, member of the Oklahoma College Savings Taskforce, member of the Academy of State Goals, and a 2001-02 graduate of Leadership Oklahoma – Class XIV.  He is a member of the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Program and a 2001-02 graduate of Educators Leadership Academy. He serves on the CareerTech Administrative Council (CTAC) and is a member of the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education (OkACTE).

He received his bachelor’s, masters and doctoral degrees in agricultural education from Oklahoma State University. In 2006 he received the OSU Graduate of Distinction Award in agricultural education. 

A recipient of numerous civic and community awards, Berkenbile has also been recognized at the state and national levels for his many contributions to Oklahoma’s education system. 

When asked about his goals as President of NASDCTEc, Berkenbile gave a strong response:

  1.  To help disseminate the new direction and vision of Career and Technology education to all states, legislators and business & industry partners.  We are not the vocational education our fathers knew.
  2. To broaden the scope and participation of students in a new CTE that includes technical, academic and soft skills learning for the future in a global, life-long learning arena.  Our programs of study and pathways lead to top level credentials, certifications and degrees that result in a highly educated workforce.
  3. To provide academic educators the knowledge that our curriculum and courses are rigorous and help reinforce the courses they teach in math, science and literacy.
  4. To help our business & industry partners understand that we are about training for high-demand, high-wage and high-skill jobs for today and for a workforce of the future.

About the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education

  • The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education is located in the north-central Oklahoma town of Stillwater. The department provides leadership, resources, and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. That system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 57 campuses, 398 comprehensive school districts, 56 skill centers and three juvenile facilities.
  • The Department is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education, working closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education
  • Organizational Chart
  • Learn more about Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, 1500 West 7thAvenue, Stillwater, OK 74074

We thank Dr. Berkenbile for providing personal insight and sharing his goals for our organization. He can be reached at

NASDCTEc Welcomes New Virginia State Director Lolita Hall

January 27th, 2011

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is pleased to announce Lolita Hall has begun her new duties as Career and Technical Education Director, effective January 3, 2011. Ms. Hall brings in-depth expertise in career technical education (CTE) program administration, extensive experience with agency policies and procedures, and experience with assessment and accountability in the division of student and school improvement assessment to the Department.

Lolita has worked for the VDOE since 1990 when she started as a state supervisor of vocational home economics education.  In her ten years in the CTE office, she provided leadership and coordination for the vocational special needs programs, development of the performance standards and measures for secondary CTE programs, High Schools that Work program, and served as a program improvements specialist.  In the latter role, she coordinated the Comprehensive School Improvement Institute for academic and CTE teachers and administrators, helped develop the state plan for secondary CTE, and worked with the development of accountability and monitoring processes and procedures for local CTE improvement plans.

 Lolita has served in the VDOE’s assessment division as team lead for the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) test implementation.  Her various responsibilities have included implementation of the NAEP testing program, monitoring local SOL assessment procedures, resolving test irregularity issues, redesigning SOL testing materials, and maintaining the master schedule for student assessment.

The Virginia Department of Education and NASDCTEc wish her great success in her new role as CTE director. Ms. Hall can be reached at

Montana Welcomes New State Director John Cech

January 4th, 2011

The Montana Board of Regents is pleased to announce Dr. John Cech as new state deputy           commissioner for two-year and community college education for the Montana University System, effective January 1, 2011.

As deputy commissioner, Cech will be responsible for coordinating statewide educational programs at the two-year and community college level, administering federally-funded career and technical education programs, leading efforts in extended learning, online delivery, adult education, dual-credit, pathways with Montana’s secondary schools, and outreach.  Cech will lead coordination, system wide collaboration, and workforce development efforts among the five colleges of technology in Billings, Butte, Helena, Missoula and Great Falls and two-year college programs in Bozeman, Havre, Dillon, Hamilton and Lewistown.   He will also work with the state’s three independent community colleges in Kalispell, Miles City and Glendive that coordinate curriculum with the Board of Regents.

Cech also plans to collaborate with the state’s seven sovereign tribal colleges on planning two-year programs, grants and transfer programs.  Cech will also direct the final 3½ years of the high profile College!Now initiative funded by the Lumina Education Foundation.

Cech, 48, has been dean and campus CEO of the Montana State University Billings College of Technology since 2002. Before that, he was a faculty member and dean at Rocky Mountain College in Billings.

NASDCTEc wishes Dr. Cech all the best in his new position as State Director for Montana.