An Interview with a CTE Leader

As part of the ACTE Fellowship Program, we are required to Interview of ACTE Board member or a leader in career and technical education. I chose to interview David Keaton, director of Region Two Center of Applied Technology.

It was my absolute pleasure to interview him. Dave has been a long-time member of ACTE, as well as a high school principal and CTE director in our state.

I initially opened the interview by asking Dave some questions about himself—how long he had been in education, an ACTE member and what committees he had been a part of at the local, state and national levels. While Dave was the director at Skowhegan, the Region vice president of ACTE contacted him to begin attending the ACTE conferences as the representative for our state. Our state association has evolved into MACTE, and one of his duties with MACTE has been to oversee the development of the fall conference for career and technical teachers and administrators.

I was intrigued by Dave’s view of the importance of career and technical education, specifically as it is so closely aligned with economic development. In his words,”you need a trained workforce to have a strong economy.” He sees career and technical education as a vital role in developing the skills necessary to move our state and nation forward.

I also was interested in how Dave grows his programs and continues to generate the interest to keep the
enrollments high at his school. He spoke of early and regular involvement with his sending schools. Keeping guidance and administrators, as well as academic instructors, informed of what his school is doing and the value of their partnerships by offering articulation agreements, academic credit and national certifications, are some examples of how Dave and his instructors are keeping CTE at the forefront and providing outstanding instruction and programs to the area students.

I asked Dave what he thought were any weaknesses of career and technical education. He felt that CTE is still one of the state’s best-kept secrets and hoped that all regions and centers would continue the efforts to promote their schools and programs.

One example of Dave’s excellent leadership was to have his schools issue their own transcripts for their students. Prior to this, students’ transcripts only listed the name of the CTE school and the GPA, no mention was made as to the program, skills or competencies achieved. By issuing their own transcripts, postsecondary institutions could see what the students had done and accomplished during their secondary career.

Finally, I asked Dave about the future of CTE in our state and nationally. He feels that CTE in our state is poised to becoming even stronger in its acceptance as an alternative educational pathway.