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CTE Advocates and White House Recognize Innovation


June 30, 2015

CTE Advocates and White House Recognize Innovation

This week, leaders from education advocacy groups, career and technical student organizations, Administration officials and First Lady Michelle Obama convened to recognize innovation and excellence in career and technical education.

ACTE partnered with officials from the Obama Administration to help plan and execute this first-ever event of its kind, which will recognize students and educators who have demonstrated that they have the skills and vision to lead in preparing their communities for success. You can watch the recording of the First Lady's keynote address from the White House here.

In addition to watching the event, you can learn more about the students and educators who were recognized below.

2015 Student CTE Innovators 

Ahmad Shawwal - SkillsUSA National High School President 
Ahmad Shawwal is the SkillsUSA National High School President, as well as the senior class president of his school. Through his role in the organization, he conducted opening and closing ceremonies and facilitated workshops at SkillsUSA's 2014 Washington Leadership Training Institute. He has also spoken on a Pakistani TV station about SkillsUSA and CTE, spoken to Voice of America, an American news organization that focuses on international news, about topics such as the importance of encouraging the interest of young women in CTE, and published an e-book for children about insects which went to #10 on Apple's iBook store through an internship with the Smithsonian Institution. Ahmad has an interest in the connections between CTE and public policy, and has met with legislators and spoken to the media about the importance of lobbying for CTE.

Anna Raheem - Vice President of School TSA Chapter 
Anna Raheem is the Vice President of her school's TSA chapter, the leader of her school's Junior Engineering Technical Society Club, and the President of her school's Science National Honor Society Chapter. She has worked with a teacher to create the first honors-level STEM class in Tennessee, participated in community service with a local food bank, and won 1st place at the TSA Regional Technology Bowl for Structural Engineering. Additionally, she is a member of many other school science clubs and was chosen as one of best science students in Tennessee by virtue of attendance at Governor's School and College Research Program for High School Students at the University of Memphis.

Anne Raheem - President of School TSA Chapter 
Anne Raheem is the President of her school's TSA chapter and the Vice President of her school's Science National Honor Society chapter. Through her participation in the TSA, she has won 1st place at TSA Regional Technology Bowl for Structural Engineering, placed highly in Robotics competition at TSA Nationals, qualifying her to compete at the Robotics World Competition, and won the "Most Outstanding Leader" award at TSA leadership camp. She has also participated in community service with her local food bank and worked with a teacher to create first honors level STEM class in Tennessee.

Ashna Dingra - HOSA Local Chapter President 
Ashna Dingra has served as the Treasurer of her local chapter of the BPA, and is currently the President of her local chapter of HOSA. Through her work with HOSA, she has worked as part of medical research and literature teams at Brown, Yale, and Baylor, organized fundraisers and school events for various causes such as the Alzheimer's Awareness Association and the American Heart Association, volunteered at local hospitals over the last two summers, received HOSA's Barbara James service award and the President's volunteer service award, and is a two time national finalist in HOSA's Health Care Issues exam.

Benjamin Miller - SkillsUSA National Region II VP 
Benjamin Miller is the Vice President of SkillsUSA's National Region II, a member of Technical Center's National Technical Honor Society and Tech Ethics chapters, and the first student member of his local CTE school board. Previously, he served as the SkillsUSA Virginia Region II President and Virginia Region III Vice President. He has hosted workshops for state officers, advocated about CTE to members of Congress, and currently visits high schools to give presentations on the value of CTE.   Benjamin is also a recipient of the President's Volunteer Service Award.

Bryant Kuhlman - FEA Student 
Bryant Kuhlman is a student enrolled in the FEA, and is on track to become a math teacher (a high-needs STEM field). Bryant presented at ACTE Vision 2014 on positive feedback in the classroom. Having excelled in the Teacher Academy program at Butler Tech, he will matriculate in the fall to Bowling Green State University. 

Catherine Cincotta - New Jersey FFA President 
Catherine Cincotta is the New Jersey FFA President, and previously served as an FFA chapter Vice President and Secretary, and as a state FFA reporter, which allowed her to visit New Jersey high schools to promote FFA and agricultural education. In the past, she has interned and completed research project at FMC Corporation in New Jersey and worked at the Agricultural Discovery program at NC State University, where she researched the tobacco mosaic virus. She currently works as a turf grass entomology lab assistant at Rutgers University.

Chelsea Sanchez - HOSA Texas Area II VP 
Chelsea Sanchez is the Vice President of HOSA's Texas Area II and has formerly served as a HOSA chapter historian, area historian, and area Vice President. She placed 4th in HOSA's national leadership conference and served as a student ambassador for Mosaic, a local organization for adults with disabilities. She currently works in a local EMT program and does volunteer work at blood drives, dental drives, and clothing drives.

Danielle Friedlander - FBLA Student President for Her District 
Danielle Friedlander is the Student President of her FBLA District, and the former President of the Academy of International Business and FBLA Secretary and Vice President. Through her work with the FBLA, she has won FBLA competitions such as Desktop Publishing, Introduction to Business Communications, and Business Presentation and her school's Academic Achievement Award, Minutemen Award for service, an Academy Community Service Award, Future Business Leaders Award, and Foreign Language Award in Spanish. Her volunteer work includes beach cleanup, hospice care, and research for juvenile diabetes, and she has earned official certifications in MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Danielle is currently dual enrolled for college credits at Eastern Florida State College.

Dylan Blackburn - FBLA Chapter co-president and PR Chairman, NC Central Area VP 
Dylan Blackburn is the co-President and PR Chairman for his FBLA chapter, and the North Carolina Central Area FBLA Vice President. Through his service to the FBLA, he has planned the Central Region competitive events conference, where students met a local businessperson and heard how CTE classes expand students' knowledge of entrepreneurship, and has spoken on TV and off-screen with NC state senators about starting a dialogue between business leaders and educators to improve the CTE curriculum in North Carolina. He is currently working to create a database to connect business leaders in central NC to students so that they can serve as advisers to the students. Dylan was awarded the North Carolina Business Educators' Association Outstanding Student Service Award for the Central Region in December 2014.

Jacob Smith - FCCLA National VP of Finance 
Jacob Smith is currently the FCCLA National Vice President of Finance, and has previously served as the FCCLA Region III Vice President of membership and the FCCLA state recording secretary. He is also a member of the National Technical Honor Society, BPA, and SkillsUSA. Through his service with the FCCLA, he interacts with the Texas State Board of Education, USDA, and the Texas State Department of Education to promote CTE. Through the culinary arts program at his school, he uses his skills to host March of Dimes banquets, East Texas Restaurant Association golf tournaments, and other events. Jacob has volunteered with Special Olympics, the East Texas Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, and other local programs, and has worked with his church as an instrumentalist for the National J.O. Patterson Orchestra.

Makayla Hendricks - FCCLA Utah president 
Makayla Hendricks is the FCCLA Utah President, although she is also a member of FBLA. Through her service to FCCLA, she has hosted the National Career Cluster meeting, and has attended the FCCLA National Leadership Conference in San Antonio and Capitol Leadership in DC.  She has also participated in her school's Photography CTE internship program. 

Morgan Thompson - Former National DECA President 
Morgan Thompson has served as the North Dakota DECA President, Vice President, and the DECA National President. As the DECA National President, she led over 200,000 members and fully committed her time to achieving goals in areas of engagement, membership, community service, and advocacy. Specifically, she advocated for CTE in Washington, D.C. with over 20 members of Congress, managed and increased DECA's social media presence to over 30,000 users, spoke at and conducted workshops at over 20 conferences, and attended "DECA Goes Global," the first global trip to China. She received the Johnson & Wales University Emerging Leader honor, and is currently a member of the Johnson & Wales University advertising team.  

Rachel Wagner - BPA Secondary Division National President 
Rachel Wagner currently serves as the BPA Secondary Division National President. In this role, she has traveled to five BPA leadership conferences, spoken to state legislators about the importance of CTE, and organized her school district's CTE Education Showcase. In her previous role as the state president of the Delaware BPA chapter, her leadership team implemented the first State Officer for a Day program, allowing mid-level students to see what it was like to be the leader of a CTSO. Rachel founded her school's National Technical Honor Society Chapter and serves as a TSA chapter officer.

Stephanie Wilburn - SkillsUSA Secondary National Secretary 
Stephanie Wilburn is the Secondary National Secretary for Skills USA, the President of her school's National Honor Society, and the President of her school's HOSA chapter. She has already obtained her CNA and Home Health Aide licenses, and is the co-captain of her school's Robotics and Pneumatics team. She regularly volunteers in her community and church to help tornado victims and other groups, and frequently speaks to the media about heat stroke awareness.

Whitney Bowman - Former Virginia FFA Secretary 
Whitney Bowman previously served as the Virginia FFA Secretary, and maintains her membership to this day. Due to excellent high school grades, she attended two different Governor's School programs in Virginia for agricultural students.  Through her work with the FFA, she has attended the FFA's International Leadership Seminar in South Africa and many state and national FFA conventions, written and recorded radio spots to highlight community agricultural events and National FFA Week, and visited over 160 schools across Virginia to present interactive leadership workshops on the value of CTE.  Additionally, she participated in research on how nutrition affected the weight of calves, an internship at a local wastewater treatment plant, and a project with a partnership university professor related to effective plant propagation.  Because of these projects, she received an American FFA degree, the highest degree awarded to FFA members. 

2015 Educator CTE Innovators 

Christina Horst - HOSA Co-Sponsor 
Christina Horst, a HOSA Co-Sponsor, is a local teacher qualified in Science, History, Bilingual Language, Physical Education and Health. Her program has won awards such as Outstanding HOSA Chapter for New Mexico in 2013, Outstanding Junior MRC Unit for New Mexico in 2014, and Emergency Preparedness Month Unit of the Year in 2014.  She is also a licensed CTE Instructor with the state, a certified NASP Instructor, a certified Basic Life Support/First Aid Instructor, and a certified athletics coach. During her 2.5 years at Onate High School, Christina has doubled the medical program in size and greatly increased the school's number of HOSA members. Through partnerships with organizations such as Native Air, Las Cruces Fire Department and Region II EMS, she now offers Basic Life Support and First Aid certification to all medical students. Her students have accumulated over 12,000 hours of Community Service, and many of them graduate high school with state licenses to practice as Nursing Assistants, Emergency Medical Technicians, and First Responders. 

Emily West - Lead FCCLA Advisor for Henderson County High School 
Emily West is the lead FCCLA advisor for Henderson County High School and has been instrumental in molding the Early Childhood Education (ECE) career pathway there by serving as the lead early childhood coordinator.  In October of 2014, she received the Kentucky Teacher Achievement Award and was one of the top nine finalists for Kentucky Teacher of the Year. She was one of the first FACS teachers in Kentucky who obtained the Early Care and Education Trainer's Credential from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which gave her students the chance to achieve the Early Care and Education Professionals training career-ready certificate. She has established dual credit opportunities with Henderson Community College (HCC) to provide a smoother transition into post-secondary education for her students. Emily currently also serves as an adjunct instructor at HCC, where she teaches the ECE dual credit course and other prominent early childhood courses.

Juston Glass - DECA Chapter Advisor and Event Manager 
Juston Glass, a DECA chapter advisor and event manager, is a founding member and current director of the business and entrepreneurship department at the Harker School. He also coordinates, advises, and oversees the department's professional CareerConnect program, the Wharton/Harker Summer Entrepreneurship camp, the Harker Podcast Series, and the annual Harker TEDx forum. In 2014, he was acknowledged by the California DECA as the outstanding advisor of the year.  He has presented on his project-based learning methods to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) 27th Annual Summer Economic Institute for Teachers, spoken at DECA conferences and planned DECA events in California. During CTE Month 2014, he and his school were the only school in California to complete three school outreach activities, three public policymaker outreach activities, and three community outreach activities. 

Robert Decker - BPA Advisor for His School 
Robert Decker serves as the BPA Advisor for his school, as well as the co-advisor for DECA. Through his work with the BPA, he has attended BPA's state and national leadership conferences every year since 2009, and was the first teacher in Broward County to run an electronic enterprise business program CAPE academy and pair it with the industry standard Adobe Certification Exam. As an Adobe Certified Educator, he has turned his classroom into a certified testing location and his students have had a 100 percent pass rate over the past five years. In addition to his high school teaching, he is an adjunct business professor, a QuickBooks technical instructor, and an educational consultant for the Florida Department of Education. He is currently working on the Business Education 6-12 test to ensure that the test is current in order to develop better future business and CTE programs in the state of Florida.

Robert Gibson - TSA School Advisor 
Robert Gibson is a TSA School Advisor. He was recently recognized as the 2nd best STEM Teacher in Delaware, and was selected as the recipient of a $10,000 grant from Code.org for initiating a program where his students would teach fellow students throughout the school the concepts of programming in coordination with Code.org's Hour of Code campaign. Additionally, Robert built his school's IT program from scratch, rebuilt the school's TSA program, and worked with Delaware State Department of Education advisors to build a CTE curriculum that could be used state-wide.

Thomas O'Day - Coordinator for SkillsUSA Building and Region V TV Production Contests 
Thomas O'Day is the Coordinator for SkillsUSA Building and Region V TV Production Contests Coordinator. He has worked as a TV Production teacher in Virginia for 27 years, and has been the lead TV production teacher in Virginia for 13 years, which means he is responsible for creating the agenda for the annual Virginia Association of Trade and Industrial Educators TV Production technical updates.  Additionally, he has worked to forge educational partnerships with corporate and community organizations such as the Arlington County Police Department, the Virginia Hospital Center, and Arlington Educational Television, which help his students gain real-world experience. His TV productions have twice won awards as the best national broadcast news teams, and are state champions four years running.

Timothy McLeod - SkillsUSA Advisor 
Timothy McLeod works as a Skills USA advisor and as his school's Robotics, Telecommunications, and IT Instructor. He is also the Teaching and Learning Liaison for CTE, assisting the Executive Director of Instruction in managing the school district's CTE programs. He has served on several curriculum review teams at the state level and is the state lead teacher for robotics and automation technology and communications. His students have taught classes for elementary school students ranging from "Exploring Aerodynamics and Flight" to "Electronics Assembly and Soldering," and have also partnered with outside organizations on projects such as designing and building a video game for the Virginia Department of Forestry.  Timothy has 21 years of experience in the US Navy, retiring as a chief Fire Controlman and then working as an electrician at the Naval Surface Warfare Center before returning to teaching. 

Todd Anderson - SkillsUSA Oklahoma State Advisor 
Todd Andersonfirst joined SkillsUSA as a student back in the early 2000s, and now serves as one of the organization's Oklahoma State Advisors.  As a teacher, he has seen two of his students become national SkillsUSA officers and seven become state officers.  Todd was also a leader of the first robotics class at his current school, Green Country Technology Center.  In these classes, students build and program robots with assistance from their teachers as well as the OSU-IT School of Engineering, Liberty Partners, and other engineering groups. After the robots are completed, they take them to local middle schools to show the importance of science and math. 

Tyler Pope - FFA Advisor 
Tyler Pope currently serves an FFA school advisor. He re-started the agricultural program at his high school that had previously been discontinued due to lack of interest, and over the past four years, 60% of his students who took a concentrated agriculture program in high school either pursued a career in agriculture or continued their agricultural education at a postsecondary institution. He has established innovative learning opportunities for his students including a hydroponic grow lab, a soybean test plot for students at an external lab, and a GPS monitoring system and software to analyze crop yields in different areas. His students won the 2014 Farm Business Management Contest against 17 other states at FFA's eastern states competition in Massachusetts. 

Jean Lauterbach- FEA Advisor 
Jean Lauterbach is an FEA Advisor and led the Teacher Academy program at Butler Tech for 11 years. In 2014-2015, she served as Future Educators Association's inaugural National Advisor-in-Residence, during which time she led successful communications and programming efforts to raise the bar for FEA chapters across the country. Jean brings students to Germany annually to present their learning at Department of Defense Education Activity Schools, and this leadership led to a paradigm change for FEA in which student-led sessions at state and national conferences became the norm. 


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