Welcome Kevin O’Farrell as the New State CTE Director in Florida!

The Florida Department of Education recently named Kevin O’Farrell as its new Chancellor of Career and Technical Education (CTE). He brings a wealth of experience from the higher education and postsecondary sector, which will illuminate his new strategy for CTE in the Sunshine State. 

Kevin’s work in education has ranged from being an instructor in political science to serving as provost at Pasco-Hernando State College, Porter Campus. He spent many years designing curricula, with particularly close work with health science. The arts were also on his priority list, and he led the creation of a new instructional performing arts center that offered programs beyond stagecraft, including theater technical arts. 

Florida has set the bold goal to be the top state for workforce education by 2030 – and Kevin is all in on this goal! He notes the state’s great potential, illustrated by the fact that Florida is the fifteenth-largest economy in the world. He plans to focus on workforce partnerships, with special attention to improving the entire pipeline of talent, including adult education and apprenticeships. He also has his eyes on the teacher pipeline shortage in his state, and notes that as a major challenge he wants to overcome. “CTE shouldn’t be an afterthought,” Kevin said, “It should be at the forefront.”

Kevin is excited by CTE because of the “multi-faceted benefits, in terms of earning potential and career exploration,” which he said he and his classmates weren’t exposed to in high school. That’s part of his overall belief that schools need to introduce the concept of CTE earlier in the educational system. And the benefits, he said, will expand beyond individual classrooms and learners: CTE can be the cornerstone of building stronger communities. 

Summarizing his approach, Kevin said, “I want to learn as much as I can, and do as much good as I can.”

Kevin earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of South Florida, a Master of Arts in political science and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Central Florida, and a Bachelor of Science in interpersonal and organizational communication from Toccoa Falls College, GA. Today, Kevin is married with three children between the ages of two and six, is an avid fan of ancient Egyptian history, and participates regularly in tennis and running. Welcome to Advance CTE, Kevin!

Steve McFarland, Director of Communications and Membership

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