Virtual CTE Discussions

Brought to you by ACTE’s Educators in Action, this online discussion series is designed to empower educators and reinforce their professional skills. Led by career and technical educators, these regular discussions provide a platform for peer-sharing with professionals across the country. Discussions explore hot topics in CTE and tools and tips for strengthening CTE programs. Join fellow ACTE members for these informative and engaging discussions and lend your voice, expertise and ideas to your peers on these important topics. The schedule of upcoming virtual discussions can be found below, as well as recordings of past discussions.

2019 Virtual CTE Calendar

Discussions are scheduled on a rolling basis. Check back for more scheduled discussions!


Our past discussions are ready to watch any time. Our recordings are organized by theme:

Building Your Toolkit  

Leading by Design

Selling CTE


Building Your Toolkit
Essential Skills & Resources for the CTE Professional Whether you’re new to the CTE classroom or an experienced professional, there’s always something to learn. This series provides tools to enhance your classroom, tips to strengthen your teaching and essential skills to develop as a CTE professional.
Decision-making Strategies Educators in Action Virtual Discussion
March 29th, 3:30-4:30 PM EST

One of the most challenging aspects of leadership is decision making. Learn about multiple methods of reaching a sound conclusion, whether you are exploring the forces supporting and opposing your efforts, trying to bring a group to consensus, or hoping to solve a recurring problem. These are valuable tools for a leader’s toolbox and will help ensure continued success!Led by:  Dr. Leslie Bleskachek has worked in education for over 20 years, including 10 years in the Wisconsin Technical College System and almost 4 years in the Minnesota State system. She is currently the School to Career Coordinator for a school district in northwestern Wisconsin. She has worked as an instructor, both face to face and online, a Dean, a Campus Manager and a Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. She holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and has served on numerous non-profit boards related to education and economic development. For ACTE, she has served on local and national committees and as a state delegate, was the Wisconsin President from 2012-13, and an ACTE Fellow in 2015. She lives with her husband of 20+ years in western Wisconsin along with 2 rambunctious kittens, Rusty and Reyna. She enjoys traveling, cooking, hiking and quiet time watching stars around the firepit.”Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader. Don’t fall victim to what I call the ‘ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome’. You must be willing to fire.” – T. Boone Pickens (1928 – ), American Financier


#SpeaklikeTED: Preparing Students for Public Speaking in Competitive Events One common denominator between all CTSOs is that public speaking and presentation skills count and may be the deal-breaker between going home with a certificate, or heading to the next level, national competitions. This panel discussion with Rachael Mann and student Lennon Audrain provides advisors and teacher leaders with the tools needed to equip students to succeed and advance and an opportunity to hear from students who’ve used this training to take their public speaking to the next level.


Delivering Jaw-Dropping Presentations How can educators use the techniques used on the TED stage to create and deliver jaw-dropping presentations that the audience will remember and act upon This session will transform your next speaking engagement, whether it’s before students, board members, educators, parents, or community members.
Led by Rachael Mann


Connecting with Social Media Whether you’re an avid and experienced user of social media or not, understanding this medium is essential for 21st century professionals and educators. This discussion explores how to develop your social media network and strategies for connecting with students.
Led by  Robin McLean


Tech Tools: The Best Things in Life Are FREE! 21st century learning shifts our paradigm of education, requiring educators and our stakeholders to address a rapidly changing world filled with new challenges and new possibilities. Help yourself be more efficient and effective through FREE Resources for Educator Excellence! 
Led by Dawn Lindsley

Resources Referenced: FREE Resources for Educator Excellence

Leading by Design
Upgrading Your CTE Program For teachers and administrators at all levels, this series explores major trends in CTE across the nation and ways to rethink and redesign CTE programs, partnerships, and work-based learning opportunities to add the most value to your program.


Designing High-quality Registered Apprenticeships The effort to accelerate the development of registered apprenticeship programs is challenged by our capacity to preserve the foundational principals that this system was built on.This session identifies foundational principals and best practices that need to be in place for high-quality registered apprenticeship programs.
Led by Andy Wermes

Resources Referenced: Designing High Quality Registered Apprenticeships PowerPoint

Leading Change
Racine Unified School District has been transforming it’s three major high schools (Case, Horlick and Park) to a Career Academy model of education from a comprehensive model since 2015. Transformation is messy, confusing, and clear as mud at times. This session will provide insight into how the process has been carried out with building administrators, teachers, community members, businesses, students and their families while aligning to leadership concepts from research. Questions are encouraged!
Led by: Christopher Neff


Balancing Academic Integration in CTE How do you decide the degree of academic content in your specialized CTE curriculum What criteria should you satisfy, and where do you get started Robert Marraccino draws from his experience building rigorous academic-infused health sciences programs to provide solutions to these questions.
Led by Dr. Robert Marraccino


Business and Industry Partnerships Developing partnerships with business and industry leaders is not only essential for keeping your programs relevant, it’s a powerful way to open up opportunities for your students and grow a network of CTE supporters in your community. Learn where to start and how to strengthen existing relationships!
Led by Dr. Rick Kalk

Resources Referenced: Business & Industry Partnerships (PowerPoint)   |    ACTE Fact Sheets    |     ACTE Business & Industry Resources    |     ACTE Sector Sheets

Selling CTE
Promoting CTE to All Audiences When it comes to CTE, our educators, administrators and counselors need to be the strongest advocates for our programs and our field. This series explores strategies and talking points for increasing enrollment and support for CTE programs and showcases examples that have worked across the country.


School Counselors: Promoting CTE as a Postsecondary Option

When it comes to helping students and their families make big decisions for their futures, school counselors wield a great amount of influence. Learn about ways school counselors can promote CTE to students through a variety of fun, age-appropriate activities for grades K-12.
Led by Brian Law

Resources Referenced: School Counselors and CTE PowerPoint


Promoting CTE Through the 3 Cs
career and community are key areas of focus for delivering a high-impact CTE program. Learn how employing three Cs can shift mindsets, increase program enrollment, and expand the pipeline for growing student leaders through CTE.
Led by Cassandra Miller Washington

Resources Referenced: The Three Cs PowerPoint


Promoting Your CTE Program Looking for ways to get students, parents, the community and the media excited about your program This discussion provides successful examples of how thinking outside the box when promoting your program can take it to new heights.
Led by Chuck Gallagher

Resources Referenced: Sample Success Stories in the News   |   Motivational Story

CTE is for Everyone Despite growing interest in STEM and new skills for 21st century careers, CTE is still a hard sell for some audiences. What do parents and students need to know about your CTE program to make the decision to enroll  Learn how to make your program appeal to all types of students!
Led by Jonathan Howard

Resources Referenced: CTE is for Everyone PowerPoint |  ACTE Sector Sheets   |   ACTE Issue Briefs    |    ACTE MicroDocs

Using Your Data Data is a powerful tool for highlighting successes in a CTE program. Learn how to use your data to pull together resources that help advocate for your program to a variety of stakeholders!
Led by Coleen Keffeler

Resources Referenced:  South Dakota ACTE Data Sheet Examples: 2015     2014     2013     2012     2011     2010    |    CTE Fact Sheets    |     State Profiles      |      High-quality CTE Tools     |    Putting Your Data to Work: Improving Instruction in CTE

About Our Discussion Leaders

Our Virtual CTE Discussions are led by CTE educators with a passion for helping others improve their programs by sharing their expertise. This initiative is made possible thanks to ACTE’s dedicated volunteers, the Educators in Action.


Chuck Gallagher is a retired trade & industrial education instructor of 32 years from Tucson, Arizona, and former Region V Vice President on the ACTE Board of Directors. When Chuck started undertaking new strategies to promote his CTE program, it took his program to new heights. He has presented on this topic at three Region V conferences.
Jonathan Howard teaches Audio Production and Technical Theatre at Denver School of the Arts in Colorado. He was a 2013 ACTE Fellow and has been active as a leader in developing CTE pathways for students in programs that support Colorado’s Creative Industries.
Dr. Rick Kalk taught technology education for 20 years and spent the last 13 years of his career as the Director of Career Education and Business Partnerships for Spartanburg School District Five in South Carolina. During his time at the district level, he cultivated and expanded partnerships with Sealed Air, WABCO, BMW Manufacturing and several other businesses and industries in the region and also served as the Chair of the the Middle Tyger Area Chamber Council.
Coleen Keffeler has been aCTE teacher for 31 years and the Perkins Coordinator for the Meade School District since 2002. She is a past president of ACTE and has served as the South Dakota ACTE legislative committee chair for over 12 years. She has successfully utilized CTE data sheets and brochures to obtain nearly $150,000 in grants for upgrades to her school.
Brian Law is a school counselor at Valdosta High School in Valdosta, Georgia. He currently serves as the ACTE Region II Vice President and previously served as President of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). He has received multiple awards and honors for his work as a school counselor.
Dawn Lindsley has been a CTE professional for 14 years and currently works as the accreditation coordinator for Oklahoma CareerTech, where she has helped design and implement a new accreditation process for the technology centers across the state. She was a 2012 ACTE Fellow and has served on the National FCCLA Board of Directors and is currently completing a doctorate in educational leadership.
Rachael Mann is a virtual TEDster who assists educators in applying the principles of TED Talks in the classroom for presentation delivery. She presents at a conferences across the country on how to transform the classroom through these principles, and how to transform the lives of students by teaching them how to share their ideas in a TED-style fashion. For more information, follow Rachael on Twitter @RLMann4 or visit her page at
Dr. Robert Marraccino is a tenured teacher for the New York City Department of Education and an adjunct, Assistant Professor of Biology at the City University of New York (CUNY). For fifteen years, he administered and advised on the approval process for the Perkins’ Vocational Technical Education Act (VTEA), serving approximately nine-hundred students of 8 CTE programs in a New York City comprehensive high school. Prior to teaching, he attained a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology and conducted original research for eighteen years related to DNA replication, cell cycle, and cancer biology.
Robin McLean is an active participant in #TeachAgChat, most recently helping to create the #TeachAg Slow chat at the 2016 National Association of Agricultural Educators Convention. She has also led workshops in her school district, New York, and Arkansas on using social media to expand teachers’ professional learning networks. McLean is the 2013 ACTE Teacher of the Year and is a National Board Certified Teacher; she currently co-chairs the ACTE-NBPTS (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards) caucus.
Dr. Cassandra Miller Washington serves as the CEO and executive director of career, technical and agricultural education (CTAE) for the College and Career Academy in Macon, Georgia. During her teaching career, she was named Teacher of the Year for Northeast Health Science Magnet High School, and Georgia TAPP (Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy) Ambassador by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. She is a graduate of the Bibb County Teacher and Administrator Leadership Academy and most recently was named the 2016 ACTE Administrator of the Year.
Andy Wermes is the Consultant for Skilled and Technical Sciences with the Iowa Department of Education. His prior experience includes over 25 years of experience working and supervising construction projects, and teaching and administering apprenticeship programs at the local state and national levels. His perspective on the future of apprenticeship issues has developed as a result of years of working in apprenticeship, studying how apprenticeship is structured in foreign countries, running training programs for 11 years at a community college, and working with secondary and postsecondary programs for almost 10 years to support CTE education and training with the Iowa Department of Education.

Interested in hosting a Virtual CTE Discussion? Email us! You can learn more about how you can get involved with ACTE’s efforts and volunteer initiatives by joining the Educators in Action.

Interested in more virtual professional development? Check out ACTE’s recorded online seminars!