SkillsUSA Director a Finalist for ACTE Outstanding Career and Technical Educator Award
October 31, 2013
ALEXANDRIA, VA—The Association for Career and Technical Education announces Jennifer Polz of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, as the Region III ACTE Outstanding Career and Technical Educator. Polz, executive director of SkillsUSA Minnesota, is one of five finalists vying for the national title of 2014 Outstanding Career and Technical Educator, which recognizes career and technical educators, other than full-time teachers, who have provided significant contributions to professional associations and career and technical education programs for youth and/or adults in their fields, communities and/or states.
The winner will be announced at the ACTE Awards Banquet, a dinner and award presentation recognizing the best CTE educators in the country, which will take place on Wednesday evening, Dec. 4, 2013, at ACTE's CareerTech VISION 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As a young girl building objects in her garage, Jennifer Polz dreamed of one day becoming an industrial arts educator. Now the executive director of SkillsUSA Minnesota, Polz serves CTE educators and students across the state, building a network of support and opportunity for future growth. Over the past nine years, Polz has helped grow the SkillsUSA membership to 2,500, which includes the fifth-largest postsecondary membership in the country. Each March, she coordinates the Minnesota State Leadership and Skills Conference, which is attended by more than 1,000 students from 250 chapters who compete in more than 80 competitions. Polz has worked to develop an impressive network of business and industry partners to sponsor these events, and, over the past five years, has raised more than $2.3 million in scholarships and prizes to give away at the annual competitions.
Polz has strengthened the overall leadership of SkillsUSA Minnesota, recruiting a strong board of directors to lead the organization and conscripting roughly 500 volunteers. She encourages teacher-advisors to set goals, improve chapter success and promote leadership and development. Each year, she also promotes and coordinates a fall leadership and training conference that offers students an opportunity to develop their leadership and personal skills. She has supported legislation for CTE at the state capitol and championed a statewide effort to promote technical skills assessments for CTE programs of study. The executive director of SkillsUSA said of Polz: "She is an exceptional professional who genuinely cares about the future of career and technical education, as well as the future of this great nation."
The ACTE Awards Banquet is sponsored by Cisco, Kuder Inc., Stratasys, CEV Multimedia Ltd. and Certiport. For more information about the Awards Banquet at CareerTech VISION 2013: www.acteonline.org/vision_banquet
For more information about the Awards Program: www.acteonline.org/awards
The Association for Career and Technical Education is the nation's largest not-for-profit education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. Founded in 1926, ACTE has more than 25,000 members; career and technical educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others involved in planning and conducting career and technical education programs at the secondary, postsecondary and adult levels. ACTE provides advocacy, public awareness and access to information on career and technical education, professional development and tools that enable members to be successful and effective leaders.