Invalid username and/or password.

Forgot Password?

Header Logo


ACTE Announces Oklahoma Skills Center Instructor as National Award Finalist


September 12, 2016

Contact: Jarrod Nagurka 
jnagurka@acteonline.org, 703-683-9312 

ACTE Announces Oklahoma Skills Center Instructor as National Award Finalist

ALEXANDRIA, VA—The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announces Gay Simpson, instructor for the Oklahoma Department of Career Tech Skills Centers in Enid, Oklahoma, as the 2016 Region IV Postsecondary Teacher of the Year. This award recognizes career and technical teachers and teacher educators who have demonstrated excellence and best practices in career and technical education at the postsecondary level. 

After seeing one of her high school agricultural students fall to a life of crime, Gay Simpson decided to devote her professional career to the training and education of Oklahoma’s incarcerated population. Despite gradual reductions in funding, over the past 20 years Simpson has spearheaded several new and innovative programs at skills centers across the state. In 2006, she designed a new transportation, distribution, and logistics (TDL) program at Enid Skills Center to provide inmates with training in one of the largest and fasting growing industries in America. The program saw a 98% positive job placement rate for completers and went on to be replicated at other centers. Recently, Simpson developed a new maintenance workforce transition program that concentrates on life skills, soft skills, employability, and character, before moving on to prepare students for job assessment and career development. This two-phase program allows Simpson the flexibility and adaptability to offer basic training for a broader variety of occupations students can enter upon their release.

Simpson’s CTE courses have been highly successful in engaging students in their learning, increasing their retention of the subject matter and expanding their critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills. Furthermore, Simpson has grown the opportunities for students to participate in service projects and not only give back to the community but gain hands-on work experience and build their resumes. “Mrs. Simpson takes the time to get to know every student for who they are, not their crime,” says Richard Hope, Inmate at Enid Community Corrections Center. “More than anything she makes us feel human. …You can teach us anything in the world and it is not worth the amount of hope she has given us.”

Werhan is one of five finalists for the 2017 national title. The national winner will be announced at the ACTE Awards Banquet, a dinner and award presentation recognizing the best CTE educators in the country. The event will take place on Wednesday evening, November 30, during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Awards Banquet is sponsored by Express Employment Professionals, the US Army, CareerSafe, Certiport, Stratasys, and International Baccalaureate. For more information about the ACTE Excellence Awards, visit our webpage.


About ACTE 
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities. 


Join Sq


Login above for access to member information


Join/Renew · Learn About Membership


Divisions · Regions · State Associations

Recommended Stories

What We Do

ACTE is committed to enhancing the job performance and satisfaction of its members; to increasing public awareness and appreciation for career and technical programs; and to assuring growth in local, state and federal funding for these programs by communicating and working with legislators and government leaders.



ACTE Calendar

Sunday, March 04, 2018

State Educating for Careers Conference(1)

Monday, March 05, 2018

National Policy Seminar

View All Events