I have the distinction of being assigned a mentor that has developed a real understanding of leadership in career and technical education- Miss Carrie Scheiderer. Carrie’s career path is really inspirational and presents opportunities for me to further develop my professional career as a CTE leader. Carrie is the Chief Administrator for the Tech Prep program, with responsibility for the Central Ohio Region, a position she finds rewarding through its impact and reach. In our almost hour-long conversation, my discussions with Carrie was wide ranging, sharing aspects of our background and how we came to be involved in career and technical education. Carrie pointed out to me that CTE was not her initial focus and became involved in CTE by way of her mother who was a career CTE instructor. From our discussions, we were able to focus on two key areas that are relevant to my professional development as a CTE leader: the understanding of the CTE landscape and how the fellowship program can act as a catalyst for that development.
Given the diversity of CTE approaches across the country, we discussed that it was important to gather a deep sense of the CTE landscape of my state – Pennsylvania (PA). Within this context, I should pursue as many networking opportunities as possible as there exist CTE professionals with a breadth of CTE knowledge that will provide me with a strong sense of not only the state’s current mandate but also its future CTE goals. One of the main pathways to doing this is participating in state and regional conferences while seeking to become involved in leadership opportunities within local and state related CTE organizations. Being from another country, this suggestion is even more relevant to my understanding of CTE within the United States but particularly in PA. Carrie, not initially a CTE practitioner, found that this provided a most authentic way to gain a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of CTE.
Secondly; the fellowship program, according to my mentor is a once in a lifetime professional opportunity. Alongside the rich experiences that the fellowship provides; the opportunity to be supported by ACTE staff, an experienced fellow’s coordinator while networking with fellows from other states cannot be understated. I have been encouraged by Carrie to become fully immersed in all experiences and make use of every opportunity to learn more about CTE while developing my professional and leadership skills. Carrie also believes that a state fellows program would be a great way to allow fellows to develop fundamentally at the state level and then matriculate to a national fellows program.
Having worked in a technical college in Ohio, I have some insights about the programs and types of students that are served so well by CTE. That too was a unique opportunity to have worked within another state’s education system, not knowing that my future mentor would be from that very state. I am truly excited to continue working with my mentor and we have had discussions about future meetings as well as my professional development plan. I have no doubt that my mentor will be able to provide priceless support as I transition through my CTE career.