Celebrate CTE Month

During the month of February, students and teachers across our state are taking time to celebrate Career & Technical Education.



CTE in South Dakota

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.



CTE Month Webinar Wednesday:


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!



2016 Infographic Contest

The Division of Career and Technical Education is proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Infographic Contest. This contest kicked off in October, and we were pleased to accept 112 qualifying entries! A panel of four judges evaluated the infographics based on different criteria in the areas of design and data, and the top three have been chosen:

1st Place: Maggie Dahme – Britton-Hecla High School

2nd Place: Samantha Johnson – Mitchell High School

3rd Place: Rob McFall – Vermillion High School




Outstanding CTE Educators

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:

Charlotte Mohling – Wessington Springs

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.



Tom Nelson – Tea Area

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.



Mike Murry – Gregory

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.



Sara Skillman – Rapid City Southwest Middle School

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.



Toni Brown – Langford Area

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.



Mike Brink – Hitchcock-Tulare

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.



Cayla Graves – Platte-Geddes School

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.



Chad Richardt – Edmunds Central School

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!



Mr. Richardt helped implement FBLA at Edmunds Central. We are currently in our 2nd year of the program and have 71% of our high school students in the program. Mr. Richardt also mentors the students in the Big Idea contest. Mr. Richardt uses many 21st century skills in his courses. He has taken advantage of most professional development opportunities offered. He then implements these in his curriculum. Mr. Richardt also helps fellow colleagues in any way possible with technology issues they may have. He is very good at communicating trouble shooting techniques with teachers that may not have experience with the new equipment or program.

Entire CTE Staff – Northwest Area Schools

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.



Carrie Kafka – Corsica-Stickney School

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.



Carmen Miller- Jones County High School

Career Cluster- Business Management and Administration
Nominated by: JayTee Sealey

We feel very fortunate to have Mrs. Miller as a teacher here at Jones County. She is one of our veteran teachers who is always willing to help wherever needed and teaches to a variety of students. Carmen is in charge of our Business Department, our computer classes, and our Dual Credit program. She puts in an incredible amount of time and effort to see that our students succeed and reach their potential. Our CTE programs continue to grow every year because of the time that is spent by Mrs. Miller keeping everything in order. She is extremely dedicated to her profession and to her students.

Kris Brockhoft – Winner High School

Career Cluster – Human Services
Nominated by: Gerald Witte

I would like to recognize Kris Brockhoft, our Winner High School FACS teacher. Kris has taught in the Winner district for 20 years and will be retiring at the end of this school year. Kris has been a very active FCCLA advisor and is well respected by her students and peers. She has received many awards herself and represented numerous student participants who have held state and national offices during her time here. She has dedicated an outrageous number of hours of her time arranging for the details of hosting district meetings and making sure that her students all had ample assistance in completing their projects and fulfilling their duties within the FCCLA organization. Her commitment and talents will be missed at WHS.

Dale Taylor – Kimball High School

Career Cluster – Architecture and Construction, Manufacturing, STEM
Nominated by: Levi Reindl

Because of Mr. Dale Taylor, students have graduated from Kimball High School for over 20 years have been the best kept secret in South Dakota. Though Mr. Taylor’s tenure at KHS, students have had the leadership of accomplishing many things that leave a lasting impact of the community of Kimball. Mr. Taylor’s classes have designed and constructed 14 homes; they’ve designed and constructed the clubhouse, concession stands and press box at the athletic complex, and constructed the school’s cabinetry and woodwork. Mr. Taylor’s students have also been privileged to log real life flight time, through Dale’s love of flying. Mr. Taylor’s CTE students gain knowledge in using the 3D printer, laser printer, CNC machine, plasma device, plumbing, electrical wiring, learning robotics, welding, building mini wind towers, woodworking, computer aided drafting, and much more!

With this, we thank you Mr. Taylor for having the attitude of “how can we make that happen” and instilling life skills and a problem solving mindset among our students here at KHS.



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