Welcome Jennell Ives as the New State CTE Director in Oregon

November 8th, 2021

Advance CTE commits to investing in formal leadership development for our members. The New State Director Institute (NSDI) uses a cohort model to welcome and support first-year State Career Technical Education (CTE) Directors. Each cohort is connected with mentors and other national leaders; provided leadership tools and resources; and offered instructional workshops designed to assist them as they develop and implement their state-wide visions for CTE. This and upcoming blogs in the Getting to Know blog series will introduce you to the Fall 2021 NSDI cohort! 

This summer, Oregon welcomed Jennell Ives as the new Director of the Secondary Postsecondary Transitions Team. In this position, located in the Oregon Department of Education, Jennell is also the designated State CTE Director. She is a leader and innovator with a relentless commitment to improving the educational experiences of learners. She has a passion for building direct connections between learning during school and the lives and futures of Oregon’s youth. Jennell has been with the Oregon Department of Education for 11 years and served the agency in various capacities: Health Science Specialist, Accelerated & Personalized Learning Specialist, leading the Standards and Instructional Supports team, launching High School Success, and Perkins Grant lead & Career and Technical Education Investments.  Prior to moving to Oregon, she was director of Global Education at the Wildlife Conservation Society based in New York.

Jennell’s priorities for the state are deeply rooted in Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) and increasing equity and access for each learner. With the implementation of Oregon’s Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) state plan and CTE Without Limits, Jennell and her team will focus on: 

  • Building state-wide CTE programs of study;
  • Establishing flexible learning opportunities for learners that extend access across school districts;
  • Increasing opportunities in CTE for learners with disabilities;
  • Prioritizing funding approaches to support and sustain professional development in rural CTE; and
  • Expanding career guidance for learners to start in elementary/middle school and extends through work-based learning and postsecondary opportunities.

Jennell anticipates the biggest challenges for this role to be CTE teacher recruitment and retention (which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic), expanding the involvement of stakeholders in shaping CTE in Oregon and communicating the value of CTE to learners and their families. 

However, these challenges come with much opportunity! Jennell is most excited about the opportunity to engage with employers and the workforce industry to create CTE statewide programs of study and the opportunity to build regional networks for teachers to be supported delivering such programs of study.

We asked Jennell to share one thing she would wish to be an expert in at the snap of her fingers. While we were expecting to hear about having gold medal talent in an Olympic sport, Jennell answered in true leadership fashion with the wish to communicate and build strong relationships and networks. She is rolling up her sleeves and is ready to do the “slow and hard work” to ensure the career preparation ecosystem in Oregon meets the needs of each learner. 

Please join us in welcoming Jennell to Advance CTE!

Learn more about the work happening in Oregon by viewing their CTE state profile and the state resource page in the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media 

Welcome Stephen Schatz as the new State CTE Director in Hawai’i

November 4th, 2021

Advance CTE commits to investing in formal leadership development for our members. The New State Director Institute (NSDI) uses a cohort model to welcome and support first-year State Career Technical Education (CTE) Directors. Each cohort is connected with mentors and other national leaders; provided leadership tools and resources; and offered instructional workshops designed to assist them as they develop and implement their state-wide visions for CTE. This and upcoming blogs in the Getting to Know blog series will introduce you to the Fall 2021 NSDI cohort!

Welcome Stephen Schatz as the new State CTE Director in Hawai’i. The University of Hawai’i, which serves as the state’s Perkins eligible agency, houses the team Stephen leads – the Hawai’i P-20 Partnerships for Education. He comes to this role with educational experience that spans from the early grades through postsecondary; He has served as a 3rd grade teacher, a school principal and administrator, and the Deputy Superintendent for the state. Stephen was a stakeholder in the writing of Hawai’i’s Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) state plan. As Stephen assumes the roles of leading the CTE state team, he will also guide the Hawai ‘i Data eXchange Partnership (Hawai‘i DXP), an inter‐agency team responsible for the statewide longitudinal data system to inform policy and decisionmaking for the improvement of educational outcomes in Hawai‘i.

Uniquely, Hawai’i only has one school district and one higher education system and recently the state’s CTE office merged with the Hawai’i P-20 Partnerships for Education office. Stephen is looking forward to leveraging the islands’ educational landscape, recent governance shift, and his new leadership position as State Director to empower learners from preschool and beyond through fully aligned pathways that connect secondary and postsecondary education with the needs of employers. . Understanding the geographic needs of each community and identifying career interests and passions for learners across the islands, especially in rural and remote areas, while increasing their access to equitable programs of study is of high importance for Stephen and his work to implement a statewide vision for the future of CTE.

Hawai’i is known as a top tourist destination, and the effects of the current global pandemic has challenged and reshaped the makeup of the state’s industry and workforce needs. However, Stephen sees the change in local labor market needs as an opportunity to diversify the state’s economy and allow CTE programs to intentionally contribute to the talent pipeline. Key to this work is increasing interest from business and industry to collaborate with the P-20 system and finding new avenues for business engagement that are fueled by authentic self-interest over pure philanthropy.

When away from the office, you can catch Stephen surfing the island waves or at home in the kitchen cooking his favorite stews.

Please join us in welcoming Stephen to Advance CTE!

Learn more about the work in Hawai’i by viewing their CTE state profile and the state resource page in the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media

Welcoming Jimmy Hull to Advance CTE

September 22nd, 2020

Jimmy Hull began his career in education as a classroom teacher in Alabama. Since then, Jimmy has served in numerous roles including high school principal and the president of the Association of Career and Technical Education Alabama. As of July 2020, Jimmy now serves as the Assistant State Superintendent of Education in the Career and Technical Education/ Workforce Development Division for the Alabama State Department of Education. 

Jimmy has entered into his new position at an interesting if not difficult time, balancing the start of a new and unusual school year under mandated social distancing, while also implementing the first year of his state’s new plan for the ​Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Alongside these challenges, there are still multiple priorities on Jimmy’s list. As a former educator, it is clear that a passion lies in heartfelt teacher preparation and training, recruiting and sustaining quality teachers for Career Technical Education (CTE) classrooms. He has plans to develop and implement a teacher prep program that would align with a teacher’s first three years of teaching. 

Core components of Alabama’s state Perkins plan is the commitment to breaking barriers of entry and access to CTE programs for identified student populations; building transitions for a seamless progression from high school to postsecondary education and finally to the workforce; and increasing postsecondary attainment for learners. The plan was driven by key stakeholders including a strong partnership with the Governor’s office. Jimmy also identified other key areas of growth for Alabama including career exploration in the middle and elementary grades, innovative ways to offer apprenticeship opportunities, and a working partnership with the state’s community colleges. 

Jimmy believes strongly in CTE’s vital role in economic development in his state and in the nation and has plans to begin fulfilling this role by ensuring that every voice is heard by meeting with schools’ administrative teams and formulating new strategic goals for the future ahead.

Welcome Jimmy!

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

Welcoming Paul McConnell to Advance CTE

August 18th, 2020

Paul McConnell is a lifelong Rhode Islander and has worked at the Rhode Island Department of Education & Secondary Education (RIDE) for eight years. Paul became the new CTE Coordinator in late March 2020, in the early days of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic: off-limits labs and classrooms, budget uncertainty and the rapid transition to remote learning.

Paul is approaching these challenges head-on and with big picture thinking, considering opportunities for structural changes and thinking critically about the lessons his state is currently learning in terms of which students are thriving, and which are not able to due to the digital divide and lack of access for some learners. 

Challenges aside and looking ahead, Paul is excited to determine equitable ways to implement the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) in his state, and to consider ways to better serve both learners and communities.  For example, Paul is grappling with the fact that Rhode Island’s traditional school-aged population is in a decline, however the same number of school facilities have remained open and in use. 

No matter the changes necessary to CTE in RI, learners and stakeholders have a true voice. The state has set a meaningful precedent in stakeholder engagement as per Rhode Island’s CTE Board of Trustees standards: CTE learners have given input into their needs, and recently thanks to that feedback, some CTE centers have changed the timing of classes to better accommodate the learners they serve. Paul plans to continue to engage this group to find out where learner interest lies and how to respond to that with high-quality CTE.

When he’s not pondering grand questions at work, Paul is boating and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean most months of the year.

Welcome Paul!

Sara Gassman, Senior Associate, Member Engagement & Professional Learning

Welcoming Elizabeth Bennett to Massachusetts

August 10th, 2020

Elizabeth Bennett has been working in Career Technical Education (CTE) for twenty years in Massachusetts and, as of early April 2020, is now serving as the state’s Associate Commissioner for College, Career and Technical Education. Most recently, Elizabeth was Director of Grants, Workforce Development and Community Outreach at the Greater Lawrence Technical School outside of Boston, MA, developing programming with local employers for under- and unemployed community members, people returning from prison, and out of school youth. The school boasted a long waitlist for these notably successful programs. 

Recently, Elizabeth completed studies in Urban Justice and Sustainability at Tufts University, spending time thinking critically about access to CTE programs in her state and piloting an innovative “After Dark” program, where learners would arrive at the Greater Lawrence Technical School for CTE instruction between 2:30 and 5, providing access to CTE to those who may not be available during traditional school hours. Based on this successful pilot, Elizabeth earned grant funding and expanded the After Dark program state-wide.

These days, Elizabeth is looking forward to the state’s implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) , after having worked on Perkins at the local level, and having written Perkins grants at the local level in her previous jobs. She also looks forward to elevating high quality CTE programs in MA.

As Elizabeth was an English major and taught English literature early in her career, we asked her what fictional world she might like to be magically transported to. Her answer? England during Shakespearean times to act in one of his plays. Welcome, Elizabeth to the State CTE Director community!

Sara Gassman, Senior Associate, Member Engagement & Professional Learning

Welcoming Craig Statucki to Nevada

June 29th, 2020

Craig Statucki had a most unusual first day as the State CTE Director in Nevada. March 16, 2020, was the state’s first day of school closures due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. He spent his first couple of weeks on the job gaining an understanding of what school building closures would mean for Career Technical Education (CTE) delivery across his state, especially as some school years were scheduled to end as early as Memorial Day weekend. Craig is proud to report that many CTE programs donated their personal protective equipment (PPE), among other supports provided to frontline workers including those in healthcare, transportation distribution and logistics, and more. He believes this will encourage continued connections between CTE programs and communities and is an action that proves the strong link between high-quality CTE programs and flourishing communities.

As Craig moves beyond the immediate pandemic response, he is celebrating the completion and submission of Nevada’s Perkins V plan. He is also exploring solutions to the new and widely shared challenge of remote completion of work-based learning requirements, especially as the largest number of internships for learners in Nevada are in healthcare settings.

Craig has lived in Nevada for thirty years and most recently served as the Executive Director of Nevada’s Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) chapter for five years, an organization he has been part of since the late 2000s. In his new role as State Director, Craig is excited to lean on his experience building relationships between state and local CTE stakeholders to lead Nevada through change. “I always said, ‘I wish the Department of Education would do x, y or z,’ and now I have the opportunity to make x, y and z happen,” Craig said.

In his free time, Craig listens to podcasts about technology, innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship and enjoys spending time outdoors.

Welcoming Erskine Glover to New Jersey

May 21st, 2020

Erskine Glover started as New Jersey’s Director, Office of Career Readiness, in early 2020 and has already visited several school districts in the state to visit with administrators, instructors and learners to see how CTE is working for New Jersey. Erskine brings a breadth and depth of educational experience with him to this new position, having served as an educator in northern New Jersey for 24 years including as an assistant superintendent for a couple of years, school administrator for 14 years, and teacher for eight years. Erskine has spent the majority of his career in the K-8 landscape.  

Erskine has a passion for preparing current and future instructors for their roles as educators. He has supported their professional development, including helping to promote practices that support the emotional capital of educators for long-term careers, an issue that is prevalent during COVID-19. Additionally, Erskine has helped educators in delivering more project-based and blended learning education. While working for Newark Public Schools, the largest school district in the state, Erskine tapped into his systems thinking and systems design skill set to develop a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) pathway for elementary school students that connected to the Career Technical Education (CTE) options at the district’s high schools, providing learners with early exposure to STEM while also setting them up for a seamless pathway throughout their education.

Looking ahead, Erskine is excited to work on partnerships between schools and industry, and to spark interest in CTE in younger learners. He is interested in using data to influence the delivery of high-quality and in-demand CTE across the state, as well as to promote equity in New Jersey’s CTE system.   

When Erskine is not working, he coaches youth soccer (he’s been coaching the same team for five years!) and practices sports photography for multiple outdoor sports. 

Melissa Hickey Brings Creative CTE Leadership to Connecticut

May 11th, 2020

Melissa Hickey is once again heading up Career Technical Education (CTE) at the Connecticut State Department of Education, where she has been working for the past four years. Melissa returns to this role while also serving as the Reading/Literacy Director for the state. She has held a number of education roles including beginning her education career as a second grade teacher, serving as a coach, science coordinator and district-level administrator.

Melissa brings creativity to her role, having recently partnered with the Department of Labor to host “Cuppa Joe Road Shows,” to connect business and industry representatives to educators and facilitate conversations between the two groups to both showcase and spark successful partnerships. Partnerships are key to how she approaches her work at the state level. In fact,  she created the Perkins leadership group which resulted in 2,500 people providing input into the Perkins V state plan via multiple online surveys and public hearings. Melissa strives to work across the many stakeholders that are necessary to make high-quality CTE possible, including the Department of Labor, Department of Economic Community Development, and business and industry, and even works to connect them to each other.  Top of mind for Melissa is working with business and industry as well as high school and community college leaders to engage in conversations to establish new industry recognized credentials.

There’s lots of change in Connecticut, as state staff turn towards implementing their Perkins state plan, and the recent change of Career Clusters in the state. However, in the coming months, Melissa and her small but mighty team are working to increase work-based learning opportunities and helping their colleagues across Connecticut provide high-quality and in-demand opportunities to learners.

 

Welcoming Henry Mack as Florida’s Chancellor for Career, Technical and Adult Education

March 12th, 2020

Henry Mack started as the Chancellor for Career, Technical and Adult Education in Florida in November 2019 and is approaching his new role with great thought and enthusiasm. Previously, Henry served as Vice President for Workforce Education and Innovation at Broward College in southeast Florida, ensuring alignment between the college’s academic programs and local market demands. Henry also taught undergraduate philosophy and religion at the University of Miami and at Florida International University, having studied philosophy and theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC

The Florida Department of Education’s Division of Career and Adult Education is taking on a necessary but difficult task to ensure that learners, businesses, and the economy are benefiting from a robust Career Technical Education (CTE) system. They are in the midst of conducting an audit of its 1,200+ CTE programs to ensure they are aligned with high-growth, in-demand and high-wage employment opportunities. Using his background in liberal arts, however, Henry is looking forward to considering ways to better connect CTE with the traditional aims of a liberal arts education, such as education for democratic citizenship, cultural competence, critical thinking and mental agility. He is also looking forward to leveraging CTE as a means to address issues of access and economic and social inequities.

Looking ahead, Henry has big ideas for CTE in Florida. He’s excited to explore structural innovations in education, for example, considering different ways to integrate technical colleges into an education system, leverage technology to assist parents and learners in navigating potential career pathways, and promote practical and successful entrepreneurship across the state. Advance CTE is thrilled to support Henry in these endeavors! 

When he’s not on the job, Henry spends his time with his four-year-old daughter, two-year-old son and wife.

Dennis Harden “Running” CTE in Iowa

March 11th, 2020

Once the snow melts, Dennis Harden will be running the trails in Des Moines, Iowa. For now, he’ll have to stick to running the state’s Bureau of Career and Technical Education (CTE) as the new CTE Bureau Chief. 

Dennis comes to this role from Missouri, where he served as CTE Coordinator for two decades, working across several realms including guidance and counseling, equity and of course, Perkins planning. Dennis started his CTE career at the Missouri Department of Education, supervising a customized business and industry program. Dennis also spent four years working as the director of skilled technical sciences, health sciences and industrial technology.

In the coming years, Dennis is looking forward to getting the Iowa Perkins V plan across the finish line. He will also lead the team in continuing to work through the Future Ready Iowa initiative, a redesign of the state’s CTE programs that aims to improve access to high-quality CTE throughout the state by promoting regional planning partnerships and aligning CTE programs to in-demand occupations. Dennis and his team will consider how they can best help educators implement changes as part of the initiative. The Iowa bureau of CTE is also working on a statewide communications plan, which they developed as part of their work on the grant, Strategies to Attract Students to High-quality CTE, with the help of Advance CTE staff.

While Dennis is certainly not a new member of Advance CTE, we are so excited to welcome Dennis to this new role leading CTE in Iowa!

 

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