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ACTE Announces Maine Culinary Arts Instructor as National Award Finalist


September 25, 2017 

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

ACTE Announces Maine Culinary Arts Instructor as National Award Finalist

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Today, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced Cathy Bither, Culinary Arts Instructor of Region Two School of Applied Technology in Houlton Maine, as the recipient of the 2017 ACTE Region I Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes CTE professionals for their leadership on behalf of ACTE, their innovations in CTE and their contributions to the field over an extended period of time.

Beginning her career teaching culinary arts in 1985, Cathy Bither is the most senior instructor at Region Two School of Applied Technology in Houlton, Maine. Her experience in the hospitality industry as a small business owner, combined with her patient and gentle approach with students of all abilities, have led her to become a popular instructor across several decades and one of the center’s best program recruiters. Students taking Bither’s program are eligible to receive college credits through dual enrollment with local colleges, and have the opportunity to attain academic credits through Maine's "Bridge Year" program. All her students become certified with a 10-hour OSHA card and ServeSafe server’s certification, as well as fire extinguisher training and basic First Aid/CPR/AED certification through the American Safety & Health Institute.

Bither’s students run Region Two’s “Culinary Café,” taking on all aspects of operations including selecting the menu, preparing food, serving customers, hosting, and managing sales. The café is a staple not only for school faculty and local community members, but also draws neighbors from nearby Canada. Students often cater for the local hospital, area school events, and Region Two’s Cooperative Board meetings. Furthermore, Bither has led Region Two’s service learning and community outreach efforts: there is hardly a single local restaurant or bakery that has not employed one of her current or former students, and many local restaurateurs and their workers become SERVE SAFE certified through her program. Many of Bither’s students have gone on to start their own catering and specialty cakes businesses. The true testament to Bither's success as an instructor is the number of past students who come back to update her on their culinary careers and aspirations. David Keaton, Director of Region Two School of Applied Technology, praises Bither for “her generations of students served, and her caring way treating all her students as family,” and says, “she is one in a million.”

Bither is one of five finalists for the 2018 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, December 6, during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Awards Banquet is sponsored by Express Employment Professionals, the US Army, CareerSafe, 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, school counselors, guidance and career development professionals 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.



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