FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2021
Contact: Megan Kmiotek
ACTE Announces North Carolina Career Coach as National Award Finalist
ALEXANDRIA, VA—Today, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced Bena Weires, Career Coach for Carteret Community College in Morehead City, North Carolina, as the recipient of the 2021 ACTE Region II Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes career and technical education (CTE) professionals for their leadership on behalf of ACTE, their innovations in CTE and their contributions to the field over an extended period of time. At the virtual Awards Gala, ACTE will be inducting all five Lifetime Achievement national finalists into the ACTE Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honors the leadership of CTE professionals who have made enduring contributions to CTE throughout their career.
Bena Weires obtained a BS and MS in Family and Consumer Science Education at East Carolina University and began teaching FACS in the NC public school system in 1977. Teaching middle and high school, she has championed students in Career and Technical Education at all levels. She served on several curriculum writing teams, including Exploring Life Skills and Exploring Career Decisions. Weires worked with her CTE Director to write a Gender Equity grant in the 1990’s and began summer programs promoting STEM careers to middle school girls. Even after funding was completed, the summer STEM academies were so popular that a local donor was secured and the academies transitioned over to GEMS, Girls engaged in Science and Math. When the state of North Carolina began the NC Teacher Academy initiative in 1996, Weires was asked to serve as a trainer. She led week-long residential summer seminars in Curriculum Integration, Learning Styles, Multiple Intelligence, and Children of Poverty. Weires was able to share her passion for helping students and her beliefs in the importance of career and technical education with other educators throughout the state.
In 1998, Weires began working with Career and Technical Education students through the WIOA program and as a career development specialist. Again, her passion for helping an under-served population showed, as she championed “her WIOA youth”, arranging for tutoring sessions, leadership activities and meaningful work-based learning experiences. Many of her former students keep in contact with her still.
Upon retirement from the public-school system, Weires joined the NC Community College system as a part-time career coach. While at Carteret Community College, she implemented a Dress for Success Closet, for students needing interview appropriate clothing and also implemented a Career and Technical Expo to expose middle and high school students to local college and career options.
Weires is one of five finalists for the 2022 national title. The national winner will be announced at the virtual ACTE Awards Gala, an award presentation recognizing the best CTE educators in the country. The event will take place virtually on November 30 at 5:00 p.m. ET. The virtual Awards Gala is sponsored by Express Employment Professionals, Goodheart-Willcox and Stratasys. For more information about the ACTE Excellence Awards, visit our webpage.
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