Welcome to Harold Mackin, Connecticut’s New State CTE Director!

If someone had told Harold Mackin 10 years ago that he would one day be the State CTE Director of Connecticut, he would have thought the person was crazy.

That’s because Mackin was firmly settled as a district-level director for Career Technical Education (CTE) in Washington state, where he had been born and raised and taught CTE for nearly 24 years. Yet as his youngest of five daughters was entering third grade, Mackin began to ponder his own future, and that set him on a course that eventually led him to interview and apply for an agricultural education position in the state CTE office in Connecticut.

The day of his interview was the first day he had set foot in New England. That was seven years ago, and now Mackin has been tapped as the State CTE Director. Moving from the local to state level was certainly a shift, Mackin said.

“When I first arrived, the learning curve wasn’t a curve at all,” he said. “The line was 180 degrees that went straight up.”

In those seven years, the state CTE office, which had seven staff members when he arrived, has changed significantly with retirements and budget shortfalls, and now has two staff members.

Despite those changes, Mackin said he sees opportunities to raise the profile of CTE in Connecticut, where the Ivy League schools dominate students’ post-high school plans. He hopes to bridge the divide between academic and technical courses through the state’s mastery-based learning initiatives. He said this work could bring more contextualized instruction into academic teaching and more academic recognition to technical courses.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate for Member Engagement and Leadership Development

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