August 7, 2017
Jarrod Nagurka, ACTE
Dr. Kenneth Wallace Named 2018 ACTE Champion of the Year
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and its Board of Directors have announced Dr. Kenneth Wallace, the superintendent for Maine Township School District #207 in Park Ridge, Illinois, as the 2018 ACTE Champion of the Year. The ACTE Champion of the Year award recognizes individuals and entities for their meritorious contributions to the improvement, promotion, development and progress of career and technical education (CTE).
Dr. Ken Wallace began serving Maine Township School District #207 in 2005 as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. He became the superintendent to the district and its 6,300 high school students in 2009. Each of the district’s three high schools has been recognized by the Washington Post, US News & World Report, or Newsweek as one of the nation’s top schools. Despite growing poverty, this demographically diverse district reported the eighth highest mean ACT scores the past nine years, and under Dr. Wallace’s supervision was named one of the 14 most innovative school districts in America by Tech Insider.
While assistant superintendent, which included oversight over technology, District #207 became the first K-12 school district in the world to partner with Google to use Gmail and Google Applications for education. Career exploration has also been a major emphasis for Dr. Wallace. He has expanded career-oriented classes, implemented a four-year plan for students to receive help exploring and planning careers, and hired a career coordinator for the district’s internship program.
The internship program is another feature of this district. Each student creates a four-year plan to explore careers and postsecondary options. The internships program has grown by 126 percent over the past two years, while the number of community partners has skyrocketed by 263 percent. By implementing Dr. Wallace’s vision, schools offer students flexibility in their schedules that allows them to take advantage of shadow days, job fairs, career panels, and non-traditional internships. He has also integrated career readiness into the district’s counseling programs, grading system, and curriculum development.
We are proud that Dr. Wallace has received this well-deserved national honor for his visionary approach to career and technical education, said Carla Owen, the districts board of education president. Throughout his thoughtful leadership and focus, Dr. Wallace is ensuring that all of our students have authentic opportunities to explore career and college options, which will pay dividends for students long beyond their high school years.
Dr. Wallace will be recognized alongside other national ACTE award winners on Dec. 6, at the annual ACTE Awards Banquet during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. VISION is ACTE’s signature event, with more than 4,000 CTE professionals from across the country. For more information on the Excellence Awards and the Awards Banquet, visit https://www.acteonline.org/why-cte/acte-excellence-awards/.
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.