Mentor Interview: Shawn Freie

Today, I would like to speak a little about an amazing ambassador, and current President, for the Post-Secondary Adult Career Education (PACE) Division in Oklahoma, Shawn Freie.  Shawn began her career as an Agriculture Education Instructor at Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater, OK in 1992.  In 2006, she was offered a position at Caddo Kiowa Technology Center (CKTC – in rural Fort Cobb, Oklahoma as a their Business and Industry Services (BIS) Small Business Management Coordinator (SBM).  Caddo Kiowa serves 14 partner high schools throughout their district, which encompasses more than 1,950 square miles in west central Oklahoma.  As with all of Oklahoma’s technology centers, Caddo Kiowa focuses on serving their three main customer groups, high school juniors and seniors, their local business and industry partners, and adults seeing career development training.

In 2012 while working as a SMB Coordinator, she became CKTC’s Business Incubator Manager.  Shawn also developed CKTC’s Adult Leadership Program in 2017, which is patterned after the Leadership Oklahoma Program.  This program consists of 8 sessions focused on growing leaders within CKTC’s district to serve as council members, school board members, and other numerous leadership capacities.  The program offers John Maxwell leadership training, informational sessions on the operations of county and state government, agriculture production and business, along with many other topics that benefit all people striving to become better leaders within their community.

Although Shawn was already a member of the Oklahoma PACE Division, she always had the drive to want to do more.  She received encouragement from a colleague that pushed her to become the chairperson of OK PACE’s Mutual Benevolence Committee.  This committee is a member-funded entity which provides financial assistance to members and their families in the unfortunate case of a death of the member or their spouse.  Her experience on this committee lead Shawn to want to play even more of an active role within the divisional organization.  In 2017, Shawn was elected as President-Elect of OK PACE which allowed her the opportunity to participate in the ACTE Fellowship Leadership Program.

The ACTE Fellowship program continued to force Shawn outside of her comfort zone, while at the same time, learning more about career and technical education on the national level.  Shawn saw this as her opportunity to invest back in herself to grow both personally and professionally.  Shawn states that the professional relationships that she developed within the ACTE Fellowship Program will last throughout the rest of her career.  This program was, in her own words, “It was the best thing I ever did professionally.”