Meet Brian Law, career and technical education (CTE) director and school counselor in Brooks County, Georgia. Having previously served on the board of directors as president-elect and Region II vice president, Law’s term as president of ACTE began in July 2021.
To say hello and welcome, Techniques conducted an interview with ACTE President Brian Law.
What is your job title and what do you do?
I work half the time as CTE director for Brooks County Schools and half the time as school counselor for Brooks County High School in Quitman, Georgia. I am fortunate to serve both CTE teachers and students, and I tell everyone that I have the best of both worlds.
What was your education experience like? What did you study?
From an early age, I knew I wanted to be a school counselor. When I entered college, in Georgia, you had to teach for three years prior to being a school counselor. I majored in secondary social studies education and gained middle school, early childhood, interrelated special education certifications.
I taught three years of language arts and speech and drama at the middle school level. Then, I obtained my master’s in school counseling and an educational specialist in instructional technology with a certification in educational leadership. After that, I served as school counselor for elementary, middle alternative and high school.
My training in administration led me to work as a district director for CTE. I attribute my CTE business classes in high school and FBLA, the career and technical student organization, for my success in college and career. These courses made me a well-rounded and prepared student. I still use those skills every day.
In your opinion, what presents the most significant barrier to equity in education in 2021?
Many schools in lower income and/or rural communities face the issue of recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers. I believe relationships and instruction are the two most important factors in a quality CTE programs.
What do you hope to achieve as president of ACTE?
We are in the beginning phases of reassessing the strategic plan. I served on the board as Region II VP when the plan was revised and implemented. I am excited to go through this process again.
Overall, I want to reach out and advocate, recruit new members and renew the spirit for CTE. Teachers need the best resources to provide high-quality instruction. Students deserve the most well-trained teachers and innovative programs. Our business and industry partners depend on us to provide skilled workers for the workforce. ACTE is the driving force to help make this happen!
How has your experience in leadership at ACTE informed & enhanced the work you do to provide high-quality CTE for all students?
Serving on the board of directors has given me the opportunity to learn more about organizational leadership. I have met and networked with passionate CTE educators from all five regions and 10 divisions in the association. These talks with colleagues further encourage me and renew my spirit to find innovative ways to promote CTE at the local, state and national levels. I have learned so much more, by serving on the board, than I would have ever known. Now, it is my job to share knowledge and resources with others.
What advice would you offer someone who wants to become more involved in ACTE leadership opportunities?
Tap into the resources. ACTE offers many opportunities. Vice presidents in regions and divisions are always looking for people to serve on committees that represent their geographical area or career area. Get involved with the fellowship program. It presents an excellent way to build knowledge and leadership for CTE.
ACTE is always striving with different initiatives to build leadership. Ask a board member or staff for more information. Further, being nominated and winning a region or state award helps to identify future leaders. Nominate a colleague or yourself for the awards program.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I have only been involved in ACTE for the last 10 years of my 28-year career. And I tell everyone it was the hidden secret. I had just completed my service as president of the American School Counselor Association when my CTE director asked me to attend a state CTE conference. They were providing membership level registration for school counselors to get them more involved with CTE. I had attended so many conferences that I needed a break. But I agreed to go if several others from my school district would attend.
When I attended I discovered a whole new world. There were many resources and networking opportunities that I wish I had known about. I was hooked on ACTE! The state executive director encouraged me to run for ACTE division vice president; I did not make the ballot. So, later, I ran for the region VP. And, to my surprise, I won!
After serving, I found this rewarding to my career and growth as a leader. I decided to run for president. As members of ACTE, don’t let your association be that hidden secret. Reach out to your colleagues and help them find the world I found. Thank you for allowing me to serve you and know that I appreciate what you do every day in your schools — for the children.