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ACTE Announces Texas WISD CTE Guidance Coordinator as National Award Finalist


September 25, 2017 

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

ACTE Announces Texas WISD CTE Guidance Coordinator as National Award Finalist

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Today, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced Gay Johnson, WISD CTE Guidance Coordinator of Waxahachie ISD in Waxahachie, Texas, as the recipient of the 2017 ACTE Region IV Career Guidance Award. This award recognizes school counselors and career development professionals who have demonstrated commitment to connecting students with opportunities for success, shown innovation in career exploration and development, and have advocated for CTE as a viable option for all students. The Career Guidance Award is sponsored by the U.S. Army.

Gay Johnson came to CTE from a background in psychology and counseling for foster care and family-based services, where she garnered an appreciation for CTE as a lifeline for helping individuals develop goals and plan for their futures. As the CTE Career Guidance Coordinator at Waxahachie Independent School District (WISD), Johnson is responsible for broadening career awareness in students across all grade levels (K-12), initiating career exploration and assessment, ensuring all high school students develop a Career Plan, and providing counseling and guidance to students in developing a coherent sequence of courses based on their career goals. In addition, Johnson provides key leadership to staff in supporting WISD’s job training program, transitional services, and program access services; supporting CTE teachers in implementing career awareness and career development activities; training district counselors on best practices in career guidance; working with staff in cultivating business and industry partnerships; and advocating for CTE students, teachers and programs.

Each school year, Johnson organizes the WISD 5th Grade Career Expo, which is attended by over 600 students who rotate through stations and listen to speakers representing each of the 16 nationally recognized career clusters.  The goal is to expose students to the language and organizational structure of career education and its relationship to business, industry, and services within the community. Johnson spearheaded the development of career centers at every elementary and middle school campus in the district, bringing career awareness and exploration to more students at a younger age. In addition to these initiatives and her continuing work to coordinate career exploration for hundreds of middle and high school students, Johnson recently coordinated with other staff to develop Interlink Waxahachie, a community alliance designed to bridge the gap between business and industry, government, and CTE. This group supports increased awareness of WISD’s CTE programs, identifies skill set and training needs of local employers, ascertains city economic trends, and identifies future occupational demands. Mark Bosher, CTE Director at WISD, says, “Mrs. Gay Johnson is the go-to person on the Foundation High School Program for all secondary counselors in WISD.”

Johnson is one of four 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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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.



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