Meet Krystle Gremaud, Postsecondary Teacher of the Year finalist

Meet Krystle Gremaud, winner of ACTE’s Region III Postsecondary Teacher of the Year award. Gremaud’s interview appears as part of a spotlight series on our 2021 national award winners and finalists. This award recognizes career and technical education (CTE) teachers at the postsecondary level who demonstrate innovation in the classroom, commitment to their students and dedication to the improvement of CTE in their institutions and communities.

What is your job title and what do you do?

I am the CTE program coordinator and an assistant professor at the University of Central Missouri. I coordinate our Bachelor of Science in Education (BSE) degrees for agriculture teacher education, business teacher education, engineering & technology teacher education, and family consumer sciences (FCS) teacher education.

In addition to advising students throughout their undergraduate program, I instruct them in classes such as Intro to CTE, Methods of Teaching CTE, Foundations of CTE, CTE Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs), and Assessment in CTE. I also supervise all students in their senior field experience and during student teaching.

What was your education experience like in general? What did you study?

I have a BSE in secondary education with an emphasis in family consumer sciences, a Master of Science in instructional technology, an educational specialist degree in human services with an emphasis in CTE and college instruction, and a Doctor of Education in P–20 community education & leadership.

Please discuss the role of teaching in your life. Who or what inspired you to teach CTE?

I have known since I was a little girl that teaching was my calling. It wasn’t until I met my high school FCS teacher that I discovered what I wanted to teach. Her classes ignited my passion for the world of CTE. From that moment on, I lived out my high school days in the FCS classroom.

After I graduated with my BSE, I taught high school FCS for 10 years and loved every minute. However, my ultimate career goal was to teach postsecondary FCS. It was a hard decision to make, leaving the K–12 world but it’s a decision I’m so glad I made! I absolutely love working with students who share my passion for teaching and CTE.

How has COVID-19 affected CTE program activities in your school. How has it affected the wellbeing of your professional learning community at large?

Unfortunately, most of our extracurricular activities were suspended for the year. The university hosts many high school CTSO events at which our students volunteer. These in-person events were all cancelled, so our students didn’t get the experience of working with high school CTSOs. As far as classes, we were not able to engage in many collaborative activities because of social distancing requirements. As a whole, morale has been really down among faculty and students. However, we will return to in person classes in the fall and I know that students are very excited to return to normalcy.

In what innovative ways have you engaged students to remain connected with their communities — and have fun — while social distancing?

In class, as I mentioned previously, we were not able to engage in our normal collaborative activities, so I turned to apps like Google Docs and Zoom for engagement. Students could collaborate using apps that work in real time. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it helped. I also kept classes going by meeting them through Zoom instead of pushing everything into an asynchronous online environment. Zoom allowed us to meet as a class and interact with each other. I also held “coffee talk” events and a dinner where CTE students met through Zoom to chat in a casual atmosphere.

As an ACTE award winner, you are recognized for your efforts to sustain high-quality CTE programs for all students. What advice would you offer a new teacher?

Take it a day at a time. Don’t be too hard on yourself. And make time for yourself!

Learn more about ACTE’s 2021 national award winners.