Cohort #5 – 2023 Fellows
ACTE announced its fifth class of Fellows for its 2022 NextLevel Postsecondary CTE Leadership Program, sponsored by ECMC Foundation and powered by ACTE (formerly known as the Postsecondary Leadership Success Program at ACTE – sponsored by ECMC Foundation) in December 2022. Seventeen fellows were selected for the 2023 cohort. The NextLevel Fellowship provides professional and career growth opportunities to the next generation of leaders in postsecondary CTE programs through a nationally-recognized program that is engaging, individualized, and memorable.
Eric Crawford – Principal at Ukiah Adult School, California
Eric started his educational career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, Southern Africa after earning his Bachelor’s degree from UC Davis. He then taught vocational agriculture for 21 years. Eric’s administrative experience began in 2015 as the CTE Coordinator for Ukiah Unified School district. This is his first year in Adult Education as the Principal of Ukiah Adult School.
Jim Egenrieder – Research Faculty and Director, STEM Education and Workforce Development at Virginia Tech
Jim is a long-time Agriculture, Biology, and Technology and Engineering teacher, and CTE and STEM education specialist. He is also a professor of Engineering, Natural Resources and Environment, and Education Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction. Jim worked on Capitol Hill in agriculture and environmental policy before becoming an educator, and runs a research farm with his wife on weekends.
Carol Erwin – Associate Professor at Wayne State College, Nebraska
Dr. Carol Erwin is currently an associate professor in the Department of Technology and Applied Sciences at Wayne State College as the Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Educator and Foods & Nutrition instructor. She is in her eleventh year teaching and supervising the FCS student teachers in their clinical practice. Carol works hard to foster the love of lifelong learning and professional development in her students. She loves preparing students for their future FCS/CTE classrooms and connecting them to the world of work-based learning and further opportunities for their students through CTE.
Ryan Francis – Employer Relations coordinator at Amarillo College, Texas
Hailing from the islands of The Bahamas and graduating from West Texas A&M university in 2018, Ryan is a growing expert in the realm of Career Pathways and Workforce Development. Following over 2 years in the Adult Education space and briefly working with K-12 Community engagement, Ryan now serves as a key connector for employers and skills training in Technical Education as his institution. Through connecting resources, closing gaps, and developing a vision of a path forward, Ryan utilizes his skill in community engagement, marketing, and curriculum design to support the future of Workforce Development and Skilled Labor development in Amarillo.
Pamela Gibson – Dean of Engineering & Applied Technology at Fayetteville Technical Community College, North Carolina
Pamela Gibson has been the Dean of Engineering & Applied Technology at Fayetteville Technical Community College since 2015. Prior to that, she spent 12 years as a Career & Technical Education Coordinator in Cumberland County Schools, and 5 years as the Counseling Department Chair at Westover High School. She was the NCACTE Southeast Region CTE Administrator of the Year in 2014 and served on the Cumberland County Workforce Development Board from 2013 to 2019.
Dustin Hicks – Director of Instruction – Health & Public Safety Programs at Meridian Technology Center, Oklahoma
Dustin Hicks is a Director of Instruction at Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He has been involved in CTE as an instructor and in administration for the past 17 years. He has served on multiple state and national committees and has served multiple terms as President and Past-President of the Oklahoma Health Careers Teachers Association. During his involvement with ACTE he has been named 2016 OkACTE Oklahoma Health Careers Education Postsecondary Teacher of the year, 2016 OkACTE Postsecondary Teacher of the Year, 2017 ACTE Health Science Division Teacher of the Year, 2017 Region IV Postsecondary Teacher of the Year, and a National Finalist for the 2018 ACTE National Postsecondary Teacher of the Year.
Taija Jackson – Director of Business and Trades at Uintah Basin Technical College, Utah
Taija Jackson is the Director of Business and Trades at Uintah Basin Technical College (UBTech) in Vernal, Utah. As a UBTech alumnus, her passion for career and technical education began when she was a welding student during her teen years. Taija holds a Master’s degree in Management and Leadership from Western Governor’s University and is currently pursuing her doctorate through Utah State University’s Caeer and Technical Education Ph.D. program. With 16 years of experience as a private industry business owner as well as nearly a decade of experience as a K-12 educator and postsecondary administrator, Taija draws on her diverse professional background and experiences to provide a unique perspective on career and technical education in today’s world.
Speranta Klees – Post-Secondary Partnerships Manager at West-MEC, Arizona
Speranta Klees is a career educator who worked as an English teacher, counselor and postsecondary leader in CTE. She is very passionate about her work with young people. Career and Technical Education adds incredible value to the lives of students and the entire community; her advocacy is that every student, parent and education professional considers it an essential part of a world class, comprehensive education. Speranta works at West-MEC in Phoenix, Arizona.
Kari Lamoreaux – Lecturer at Utah State University
I have spent the last 20 years working in post-secondary Career and Technical Education as both an instructor and administrator. I am committed to helping students develop both the technical skills and human skills needed for success in the workplace. I have seen firsthand the benefits of technical education for students who do not fit the traditional education mold. I am truly passionate about the power of technical education to change lives.
Emily Logan – Dean, Industrial Technologies at Kirkwood Community College, Iowa
Dr. Emily Logan is the Dean of Industrial Technologies at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Her passion for student access and success guides her leadership as Kirkwood meets community workforce needs.
Colleen Maynard – CTE Program Administrator at Manatee Technical College, Florida
Kathleen McNamee – STEM Education Coordinator at NOVA sySTEMic, Virginia
Kathleen grew up interested in science. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology from Old Dominion University (ODU) and a master’s degree from the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Fisheries Science. Kathleen worked as a fisheries biologist for ODU, DC Fisheries, and the University of Maryland before moving into education. She then worked as a high school biology teacher with Arlington County Public Schools and as an educator for DC’s Department of Energy and Environment in the Fisheries and Wildlife Division. Currently, Kathleen is STEM Education Coordinator for NOVA (Northern Virginia Community College) SySTEMic where she manages the college’s Perkins Grant.
Erica Perrine – Clinical Coordinator at Temple College, Texas
Ms. Perrine is a nursing educator with 20 years of nursing experience and 7 years of higher education experience. She has taught the first semester nursing students for 5 years and has now transitioned into supervising scheduled and preparation of students for their clinical experiences. Professional goals are to complete a doctoral degree and to continue to develop in higher education role.
Cynthia Thomas – Visiting Assistant Professor at SUNY Oswego, New York
Cynthia Thomas serves as a Visiting Assistant Professor for the Career and Technical Education Preparation Department at her Alma Mater SUNY Oswego. She works to provide instructional, and professional support to future CTE professionals while staying dedicated to advancing the CTE industry through innovation and educational support. Prior to her transition to secondary education, she spent 7 years as a secondary CTE educator, instructional coach, and curriculum writer. Her belief is “CTE can shift the trajectory of education as we know it through strategic planning and implementation”. Cynthia resides in Syracuse, NY where she enjoys spending time with her husband, son and daughter making family memories.