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Monday Memo 2013-08-12

Organizational assessment team update; the CareerTech renaissance gains momentum among school boards; both-and thinking; creative way to share Sommers’ system overview; org structure team proposals off to the judges; congrats and welcome to Oklahoma, Dawn!; competency-based education emerging in higher education; a $4 million a year teacher; conference twitter questions with answers; and my schedule for the week.
Monday Memo 2013-08-12

In this post, check out the memo "Creative way to share Sommers' system overview"

“It’s hard to appreciate Shakespeare when you are hungry and homeless.”
– Robert Sommers

The CareerTech Renaissance gains momentum among school boards

The American School Board Journal put CareerTech on the front cover of its latest publication. A great article about the critical importance of modern CareerTech was prominently represented by this important national organization. Although Oklahoma wasn’t referenced, many states were, including several that are either similar to or wish to be like Oklahoma’s delivery system. The full article is at

Organizational assessment team update

The newly formed team working on some critical documents for our future are hard at work. They are under the leadership of Marcie Mack, our new chief of staff. First, they have created a timeline for their work:

Organizational Assessment Team Timelines



Due Date

System assessment

Baldrige criteria


Self-created feedback report


Performance dashboard


Innovation and continuous improvement planning

Action plans


Legislative agenda


Business plan development

Business plan


Organizational chart (agency)


Communications strategy for the plan


System budgets (field and agency)


Next, they will be deploying a very aggressive communication plan to assure everyone possible is part of the development process. Their work is already engaging agency staff and selected field leaders. You should expect this to grow.

This group will be documenting the details of the plans we anticipate rolling out over the next one to five years. Lots of people will be involved in deciding what goes into these documents. Stay tuned and stay engaged.

Both-And thinking

From time to time, I will share examples of both-and thinking versus either-or thinking. Here is one: I need to pay teachers better, but I need to cut costs, so I can’t. Actually, both of these can happen at the same time. Using modern educational approaches, shared services and many other available approaches to change how education operates can make it possible to provide teachers better pay (and a more professional work environment) AND lower costs.

Where are you applying either-or thinking instead of both-and thinking? If you have examples of where you applied both-and thinking to an old problem, please share.

Creative way to share Sommers’ system overview

The folks at Francis Tuttle have made my presentation obsolete by using some great technology. This is just one of many creative approaches to communication being cultivated by Oklahoma CareerTech folks. If you are looking for an entertaining, great way to share our key CareerTech concepts, check out their work here: Or, just watch it here:

Org structure team proposals off to the judges

We sent the 14 team proposals for agency restructuring to the judges this week. The winning team will be announced in early September. All of the proposals had great ideas embedded in them. None will be THE answer, but all will inform the final decisions. Great work on all the teams’ parts.

Congrats and welcome to Oklahoma, Dawn!
Dawn Lindsley, Stillwater, assumed the office of chairwoman of the board of directors of the National Family, Career and Community Leaders of America at the recent National Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

Lindsley taught family and consumer sciences and was a Family, Careers and Community Leaders of America adviser in Kansas for 11 years. In June, she began work as the accreditation coordinator in the Technology Services Division of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education in Stillwater.

“FCCLA is the ultimate leadership experience - unique among youth organizations because its programs are planned and run by members,” said Denise Morris, Oklahoma FCCLA state adviser. “This is the only career and technical in-school student organization with the family as its central focus. Participation in national programs and chapter activities helps members become strong leaders in their families, careers and communities.”

As the national chairwoman, Lindsley will lead the FCCLA board and promote the value of FACS and FCCLA across the nation.

Competency based education emerging in higher education

The following article shares how a university is moving from credits and hours to competencies. This is a fascinating story of a mainstream university moving into the 21st century. This is an effort to follow. The Oklahoma job matching service is making this shift as well. This is just one example of how the domination of degrees is coming to an end as the way to determine what people know and whether to hire them.

A $4 million a year teacher!

Yes, that’s Kim Ki-Hoon’s income as a teacher in South Korea – $4,000,000. The story about how this teacher and countless others are meeting student needs (South Korea has made incredible educational gains since the Korean War) and earning fortunes can be found at the link below. While the U.S. and South Korean systems are dramatically different, this article does give us a glimpse of some possible futures for education generally. Specifically, it shows the next wave of choice won’t be around schools, but will be around individual teachers (think Sal Kahn). It also demonstrates the dramatic changes in performance we can achieve if student success becomes society’s core focus. Finally, it shows that high quality teachers with the appropriate support of technology can earn significantly more than they currently do.

Conference twitter questions with answers

Many of you tweeted questions during the conference sessions and we didn’t have time to answer all of them live. Here are some of those questions with responses:

  1. Can CareerTech really move away from clock hours? Will the feds let us?
    • Answer: Yes, we can. Our students, companies and education innovation require it. There will be system design changes required to fully implement it, and we are committed to completing those changes. First, we must dramatically change the career major concept. It is sound from a standards perspective, but the time details have to go. Second, we must change the federal student aid process. Hour-based student aid is being challenged nationally and the governor’s initiative will give us a major voice at the table to get this out-of-date approach eliminated. Of course, Tri County Tech Center has already sent the federal rules packing when it simply refused to accept any federal funds. This is a bold move worth watching.
  2. Why did you choose to come to Oklahoma?
    • Answer: Oklahoma has a rich tradition of being student/company-focused and leading edge. Everyone, including me, wants to be a part of a system that is focused on service and innovation. Of course, getting a call from the field and the state level made the decision much easier. It will be a team effort to move Oklahoma to the next level of superior performance. Knowing the field and the agency both want to be even better makes this a great place to work.
  3. What’s our strategy for workforce recruitment in addition to training?
    • Answer: I’m not sure if this question relates to business and industry or to our own CareerTech System. I’m going to respond from a CareerTech System perspective. We need to be sure our schools, programs and agency are outstanding places to work and are competitive in the marketplace for compensation and benefits. The people we want to work as faculty, administrators and agency folks will be seeking a professional, forward-looking system. They will want to engage in meaningful work that makes a difference to students and companies. They will also want the freedom to innovate and not be micro-managed. A tall order, but I think we can redesign education to put decision-making power in the hands of those who know best, while being clear about the results we expect.
  4. I’d be interested to hear how you see the Baldrige process, TCTW and TLE working together.
    • Answer: Baldrige is a comprehensive set of questions any successful organization will address. Baldrige provides no answers, just the right questions. TCTW and TLE are just two examples of reform efforts designed to provide answers to how to complete our work. They are logical answers to several of the questions asked by Baldrige. There are other answers that may be as good as or better than these two. The state agency will be moving away from promoting a particular answer and moving toward letting individual schools choose the best answers for their circumstances. This allows for local flexibility, local decision making and local adaptation without compromising overall system quality.
  5. How much pencil whipping went on in the CareerTech Foundation golf outing yesterday?
    • Answer: I can only attest to the accuracy of our team score of 57. The three teams with better scores than ours will have to answer to their own consciences! Actually, it was a great day on the links with more than 140 great CareerTech supporters. I especially appreciated getting to play with Tiger (Steve Tiger that is), an engineer from the Tulsa area, and my son, Rob. It’s especially nice to be able to spend a day with Rob. He and I are both driven workers so days together are unique and special.


Schedule for the week

This schedule is subject to change without notice:


Non-work day


Major process team training
General office work
Conference call on educational issues


State chamber meeting
Meeting with governor’s staff
Meeting with Chancellor Johnson
Meeting with OSDE tech staff


CareerTech Board meeting – Carver Governance training
Meeting with Becki Foster and OSDE staff on AP coursework in CareerTech


Senior staff meeting
General office work

See you around!

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