During the month of February, students and teachers across our state are taking time to celebrate Career & Technical Education.
Career & Technical Education prepares all students to be college & career-ready. CTE equips students with core academic skills, employability skills & job-specific technical skills related to a specific career pathway.
In South Dakota, CTE courses are offered in middle schools, high schools, technical institutes, and universities. Students access courses at their local school districts, at regional CTE centers, and online.
Within CTE, occupations and career specialties are grouped into Career Clusters®. Each of the 16 clusters is based on a set of common knowledge and skills that prepare learners for a full range of opportunities.
Check back here all month long to learn more about the educators, counselors, administrators and students who make South Dakota CTE exceptional.
Amy Miller, Assistant Principal – Webster Area High School: Amy's discussion focused on CTE programs and their relationships with business and industry in the Webster Area. Last year, during CTE Month, Amy organized a Workforce Development Workshop to address the question "How can education and industry collaborate to improve workforce needs in Day County?" The event was attended by over 70 community members and school district personnel. As a result of the daylong event, community members made plans to provide a career day to middle school students and increased internship opportunities to high school students.
Brooke Lingbeck, Business Teacher Groton Area High School: In only her second year of teaching, Brooke has dived in, head first, to the student internship program at Groton High School. Brooke has worked to make the program effective, valuable, and mutually beneficial for her community and her students. Brooke ensures her students are held accountable for their end of the internship expectations, and integrates classroom time into preparing them for their experience. Her discussion involved many questions and answers, and new ideas for everyone participating.
Connie Whistler, Karen Roudabush, and Frankie Lux, the CTE team from Bridgewater-Emery High School will be discussing their unique and successful approach to advisory committees. An active advisory committee is a requirement for an approved CTE program, and the team from Bridgewater-Emery has used creative tactics to make the requirement work for them, their communities, and their students!
1st Place: Maggie Dahme – Britton-Hecla High School
2nd Place: Samantha Johnson – Mitchell High School
3rd Place: Rob McFall – Vermillion High School
As part of our CTE Month celebration, the Division of Career and Technical Education would like to recognize the following teachers, for their contributions to CTE, and for being considered as an Outstanding CTE Educator:
Career Clusters: Arts, A/V Technology and Communications, Education and Training, Hospitality and Tourism, Human Services
Nominated by: Lance Witte
Charlotte is a master teacher, she has been recognized locally, statewide and nationally for her teaching abilities. Students in Wessington Springs School are fortunate to have Charlotte as a teacher and the plethora of courses she is able to offer them. She begins her work with 8th grade students in a class called Choices. This year long course explores in depth all career clusters and provides them learning experiences in each cluster. This leads them into their High School education with a more focused direction towards a career path and instruction in their course selection. This process truly allows her students to be college and career ready upon graduation.
Outside of the classroom, Charlotte enthusiastically participated in the standards revision committee activities for the Education and Training career cluster, as well as the CTE foundational courses standards revision committee. Her local FCCLA chapter is very active in the organization, at their school, and in the community. Rumor has it, Charlotte hosts one of the largest and best district FCCLA meetings in the state. Charlotte also leads the Wessington Springs Senior Project program. Charlotte always willing to step up, commit her time and energy to make things happen, at the local level, but also where it impacts her career clusters at a state level.
Career Cluster: Architecture and Construction
Nominated by: John Stluka
Tom has taught Middle School Technology Education, Introduction to Technology Education, Cabinetmaking, Introduction to Building Trades and Small Engines. He started the Tea Area High School Career and Technical Education program from scratch. He had nothing but a building and donated tools to start out with, and the building was on the other side of town with no computer or phone to the building for the first two years. Then he was upgraded to another building a mile away from school and after the third year he finally had communication to the High School via a phone and computer. He built his program with new equipment from the Home Builders Association and Perkins money, along with supplies anywhere he could find them.
Tom teaches between 70-90 junior high students a year. He teaches 50-70 high students in the CTE area. Many students go on to the CTE Academy in Sioux Falls and then to LATI, STI, MTI, NDSCS in Wahpeton N.D, or Wyo-Tech after High School.
In his thirty years of teaching, Tom has also worked with students as a coach for basketball, football and track, and teaches two drivers education classes yearly with 26 students in each class. He has a way of helping students that may not succeed in the regular classroom find success with hands on projects and designs. His Cabinet Making class has built gun cabinets, coffee tables, end tables, entertainment centers and other various projects. Introduction to Building Trades have built play houses, garden sheds and work benches for the public. Small Engines class has taken in lawn mowers, weed eaters, chain saws, and other various engines and fixed for the public. The projects that don’t sell are given to the local church to sell at their auction. All the class asks in return is the cost of the wood. He makes learning fun and interesting and cares about his students. Along with teaching he drives students back and forth by bus from the high school.
Tom was the recipient of the Eastern South Dakota Career and Technical Education Teacher of the Year in 2015.
Career Clusters: Health Science, STEM, Architecture and Construction, Manufacturing
Nominated by: Jeff Determan
It is my pleasure to recommend Mr. Mike Murry as an Outstanding CTE Educator. Mr. Murray is the pre-engineering teacher for the West River CTE Consortium and math and physics teacher at Gregory High School. The West River CTE Consortium was formed in 2014 and consists of four high schools: Burke High School, Colome High School, Gregory High School, and South Central High School. The consortium consists of four programs that rotate sites on a yearly basis. The four programs are: biomedical, pre-engineering, residential construction, and welding technology.
Mike is an engineer who chose to change careers and become an educator, despite the many challenges that educators face, as well as a severe reduction in salary. When the West River CTE consortium was being formed and engineering was one of the proposed classes, Mike was the logical fit due to his engineering background and his excellence in the classroom. For the past two summers, Mike has taken classes at Iowa State University and North Dakota State University in order to become a certified CTE Instructor for engineering. His willingness to travel and continue his education shows Mike’s dedication and is a perfect example of his “whatever it takes” attitude.
Mike has made a difference for many students in Gregory High School in the fields of math and science. With the formation of the CTE consortium, Mike took advantage of the opportunity to make a difference in other schools, as well passing on his knowledge is the field of engineering with hands on projects, which include design and creating a model with the 3D printer installed in the mobile classroom.
Mike is a master teacher and an excellent candidate for the South Dakota Outstanding CTE Educator.
Career Clusters: FACS Clusters
Nominated by: Shannon Schmelz
Sara Skillman is a FACS teacher in Rapid City at Southwest Middle School. Sara brings the outside world into the classroom. She continuously looks for ways to be innovative and strives to get her students involved within the community and her school. When students leave her, they leave with a strong understanding of FACS and the industries involved in the numerous FACS related clusters. She is an outstanding CTE teacher and deserves recognition. Sara has organized a version of "Chopped", the Food Network television show, for her Culinary Arts classes and makes her lessons interactive. She engages students and holds their interest in many ways. Some examples of this would be when she uses Harry Potter and Star Wars themed games to make exam reviewing a breeze. She jumps into the world of her middle school students to bring them into hers.
Career Cluster: Architecture and Construction
Nominated by: Harlan Heitz
Toni Brown deserves special recognition as an outstanding CTE instructor in Langford, SD, for his outstanding work with Langford’s technical education students. Toni Brown, instructor of the CTE courses at Langford Area School deserves recognition for his outstanding ability to encourage and promote technical education. Many Langford students have gone on to area technical schools in our state and completed high tech careers and today have excellent occupations within our community and throughout the state. They all received their training from Mr. Brown. Toni also acts as the high school principal and athletic director so he is extremely busy. He also oversees Langford’s state electronic grade book and is the contact person for all state testing programs.
Career Clusters: Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources
Nominated by: Clint Nelson
Mike Brink is a tenured Agriculture teacher with over 30 years of experience. Mike's classes are rigorous and instructed with a high level of expectation and positive academic outcomes. Mr. Brink's guidance of the FFA program at Hitchcock-Tulare School has created one of the best FFA programs in the state of South Dakota. Mike's commitment to his students and content area exemplify the qualities of high quality teacher. Mr. Brink goes above and beyond for his students, program and the school itself. Mr. Brink's knowledge of agriculture and instruction are second to none. He expects the best from his students and the hundreds of awards the Hitchcock-Tulare FFA program have received over his tenure justify his commitment to high educational standards and proficiency.
Career Cluster – Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Nominated by: Patrick Frederick
Cayla Graves is currently in her 4th year as a CTE teacher in the Platte-Geddes School District. She is responsible for teaching a variety of courses in the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster, from introductory to advanced courses. Mrs. Graves deserves recognition for being an outstanding CTE educator because she is what we would refer to as a “Nontraditional” CTE educator. Mrs. Graves is a wonderful example of why educators should encourage all students to participate in CTE opportunities. Our CTE programs continue to grow and create interest among all our students, primarily because of her efforts.
Career Cluster – Business Management and Administration
Nominated by: Angie Preszler
Chad Richardt is perfect candidate for Outstanding CTE Educator. Mr. Richardt has an outgoing personality that is well received by the students. The attendance for his classes increases every year. He is very accommodating to the students to fit his classes into their schedule, even if it means teaching two different courses in the same class period!
Career Clusters – AFNR, Arts A/V, Health Science, Hospitality and Tourism, Information Technology, Manufacturing, Transportation
Nominated by: Jim Hartwell
Northwest Area Schools is a Multi-district who provides eight different CTE classes to eight different school districts every year, for the last 40 + years. The schools they service are all spread out across the Northwest corner of South Dakota, all the way from the Missouri River to the Montana line east and west, and from Highway 212 to the North Dakota.
Every one of these teachers deserves to be recognized as outstanding CTE educators. These are some of the most dedicated teachers you will find. Despite having to drive over 100 miles to teach in some of the schools in the district, they are there on time and sometimes they are there when school has been cancelled as they have to leave their homes before the district decides to cancel. They have to travel in extremely inclement weather, with very limited cell phone service, if something were to happen. Their dedication to their students is second to none.
Career Cluster – Human Services
Nominated by: Justin Downes
Carrie Kafka is the FACS teacher in the Human Services cluster for us here in Corsica-Stickney. This is my first year with the district but can tell you that Carrie is a rock star of a teacher. She is always willing to go the extra mile for her students and puts in an incredible amount of time and dedication. I have thoroughly enjoyed my observations of her classroom and feel privileged to have such a great teacher here in our district. Carrie also organizes a very successful FCCLA program here that benefits our students greatly.