2020 ACTE Teacher Educator of the Year

December 5, 2019

Contact: Jarrod Nagurka
jnagurka@acteonline.org, 703-683-9312

ACTE Announces Illinois Professor as National Winner

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Today, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced Chris Merrill, professor at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinoisas the 2020 ACTE Teacher Educator of the Year. This award recognizes teacher educators who have demonstrated innovation in teacher education, leadership in improving CTE, and commitment to preparing teachers to deliver high quality CTE programs.

After high school, Chris Merrill completed an associate’s degree in Cabinetmaking and worked for three different cabinetmaking and commercial businesses, in addition to having his own business. After working in the cabinetmaking industry, Merrill decided that he would like to teach his craft to others, so he completed his teaching degree at Illinois State University in Industrial Technology Education. After teaching technology education at the public school level, Merrill completed a Master of Science degree in Curriculum and Instruction with Supervision from Northern Illinois University and Doctor of Philosophy degree from The Ohio State University in Integrated Mathematics, Science and Technology Education. Merrill is currently starting his 28th year of teaching, the last 19 of which have been at Illinois State University preparing technology and engineering education teachers.

Over the past 19 years, Merrill has received over $18 million dollars in state and federal external granting agencies; has authored or co-authored 22 refereed manuscripts; four international conference proceedings; seven book chapters; delivered 79 state, national, and international presentations; and was awarded the Distinguished Technology and Engineering Educator from the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association in 2014. Merrill has been the Editor for the Journal of Technology Education, the flagship research journal for technology and engineering education for the past nine years. Merrill is in his 13th year as the Executive Director of the Illinois Technology Student Association.

Merrill was one of five finalists for the 2020 national title. The national winner was announced at the ACTE Awards Gala, a dinner and award presentation recognizing the best CTE educators in the
country. The event took place on Wednesday evening, December 4, during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2019 in Anaheim, California. The Awards Gala was sponsored by Express Employment Professionals, CareerSafe, Goodheart-Willcox, eDynamic Learning and Stratasys. For more information about the ACTE Excellence Awards, visit our webpage.


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.