Welcome Brent Haken State CTE Director of Oklahoma CareerTech

As a lifelong educator, Brent Haken, who began his role as the new State CTE Director of Oklahoma CareerTech in January 2023, has a deeply rooted passion for Career Technical Education (CTE).

“I come from a CTE family,” Brent explains, noting that his grandfather was an industrial arts instructor, his wife began her career in event planning and restaurant administration, and they showed livestock growing up in the FFA program.

Brent began his career as an agricultural educator, teaching for eight years. He then transitioned into school administration roles, serving as an elementary school assistant principal, high school principal and superintendent. It was in the superintendent role that he reconnected with the administration of CTE programs, which eventually led to being offered the State CTE Director role.

In Oklahoma, CareerTech is a separate state agency that oversees the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) and the state’s robust investment in CTE that includes 29 technology center districts, 395 comprehensive school district with CTE programs, and 15 locations for 42 Skills Centers programs that deliver programs for incarcerated learners. Brent’s top priorities for this role are twofold: to increase awareness of CTE among learners and families, and to increase CTE’s presence at the state policymaking table. “My platform for this job is providing people – from young children to adults – an opportunity for a better life,” he explained.

He is excited about the increasing interest among families for more educational options that can lead to a career and believes the state has a major role in educating families about opportunities through CTE. Brent also takes seriously the role in educating and “selling the CTE story” to policymakers given that there is 25 percent turnover of state legislative members each year. Central to meeting Brent’s goal of keeping CTE at the forefront is ensuring CTE operates as a truly connected system of adult education centers, technical centers, and comprehensive high schools that collaborate and learn from each other.

At the programmatic level, Brent looks forward to securing and maintaining resources to fulfill the state’s CTE mission for learners to its full potential. This includes improving program alignment and fostering collaborative innovation with the Oklahoma State Department of Education and Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. 

When Brent is not at his day job, he is at home at his family farm raising and caring for cattle with his wife and three children. Fun fact: in addition to being handy on the land, he also knows how to sew, having learned from his mother and grandmother!

Please join us in welcoming Brent to his new role, and to Advance CTE!

Stacy Whitehouse, Communications Manager

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