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Oklahoma State Director Phil Berkenbile to Retire

Dr. Phil Berkenbile, State Director of Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, will be retiring effective February 7, 2013. Dr. Berkenbile has served as a NASDCTEc officer in several capacities, including all executive positions leading up to President 2010-2011, and Regional VI Representative.

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).

According to a press release, Dr. Berkenbile has seen sweeping changes in education and the economic climate.

“Our mission at CareerTech is to prepare Oklahomans to succeed in the workplace, in education and in life,” said Berkenbile. “We are working with young people who are digital natives and adults who need to transition into new career fields. This has occurred at a time when several Oklahoma industries are demanding a highly skilled workforce.”

Several major initiatives have been implemented during his term as State Director. The system embraced the National Career Clusters™ initiative to help students create a strong pathway to careers. The system also created several Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics academies, including those for Pre-Engineering and Biomedical as well as offerings in biotechnology. Online opportunities for students and staff also have grown, resulting in a more efficient and technologically advanced system.

Dr. Berkenbile’s leadrship strength during his term of service as NASDCTE’s President for 2010-2011 was of particular significance as NASDCTEc adopted a progressive agenda to transform career technical education (CTE) into an education system that prepares all students to be college and career ready. The agenda and actions steps are driven by the vision outlined in Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education, a document NASDCTEc adopted to chart a new course for CTE. During this moment in history, all the officer team members assumed their roles at a pivotal time as the nation’s leaders implemented a range of strategies to prepare students to compete in the global economy.

Dr. Berkenbile is currently serving on the NASDCTEc Board as Region VI Representative, serving Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

NASDCTEc Executive Director Kimberly Green shared that “Phil Berkenbile has demonstrated longstanding commitment to the advancement of Career Technical Education and the overall well being of our nation’s students. The way in which he exercised his genuine passion for education certainly has been an inspiration to all who he has worked with and touched throughout the years. The changes that have taken place through his leadership have made a significant imprint on CTE and the community.”

NASDCTEc President and New Jersey State Director Marie Barry had high praise for Berkenbile: “Phil has been dedicated to the mission of CTE for decades, having positively impacted the lives of so many individuals during his career. It has been an honor and privilege to work with him in his various leadership roles in this association over the past several years. During his service on the Board of Directors and as President, his commitment, tireless efforts to advocate for CTE, and support of his colleagues were ever-present. We wish him the best of health and happiness as he embarks on his new journey of retirement.”

We wish Phil the best of luck as he surely will make an impact with any of his future endeavors.

Ms. Sharon Schonthaler, Assistant to the State Director, shared that a reception will be hosted in Dr. Berkenbile’s honor on February 7, and if anyone wanted to send a note of best wishes, she will be accepting them now, at sscho@okcareertech.org.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

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