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CareerTech educators gather for annual conference

More than 3,500 CareerTech employees spent Aug. 1-2 sharing ideas and advancements in CareerTech education and learning how they can improve the system during the 51st annual Oklahoma Career and Technology Education Summer Conference at Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.

They also heard from Google education evangelist Jaime Casap, who gave the keynote speech during the general session and led a spotlight session the first afternoon.

During the general session, Casap, who grew up in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York City in the 1970s, told the educators at the conference that he noticed while growing up that education was the common denominator for people who succeeded.

“Education disrupts poverty,” he said. “It changes families’ destinies. It moves us forward.”

He added that an educator’s job is akin to a parent’s job: “to prepare kids for the future.”

At Google, Casap promotes the power and potential of technology and the web as tools to promote inquiry-driven learning models. He works with school systems, educational organizations and leaders focused on building innovation and iteration -- a process of repetition to reach a desired result -- into education policies and practices.

He is an author and serves on boards for organizations focused on education, innovation and equity. He also teaches a 10th-grade communication class at the Phoenix (Arizona) Coding Academy and is an adjunct professor at Arizona State University, where he teaches classes on policy, innovation and leadership.

The CareerTech conference is held in partnership with the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technical Education.

“Summer Conference brings together individuals from all of the CareerTech delivery arms: K-12 schools, technology centers, Skills Centers, business and industry services and adult basic education. They are the foundation of excellence in providing training and education so that Oklahoma has the most qualified workforce possible to power our economy. It is exciting to witness the dedication that all our CareerTech staff has for moving our system forward,” said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma CareerTech state director.

In addition to offering spotlight sessions where attendees could hear from experts, the conference featured a number of awards, including the inaugural Oklahoma CareerTech Advocate of Excellence Award.

Bob Funk Sr., founder, president and vice chairman of the board of Express Employment Professionals, received the Advocate of Excellence Award for his support of Oklahoma CareerTech.

Bruce DeMuth, former superintendent of Pioneer Technology Center, received the Francis Tuttle Career Excellence Award, the system’s most prestigious award. Danny King, campus director of the Portland campus of Francis Tuttle Technology Center, received the Arch Alexander Award of Excellence, and Don Roberts, Business and Industry Services agriculture business management coordinator at Autry Technology Center, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Express Employment Professionals presented cash awards to Support Staff Member of the Year Kate Nickel, Northwest Tech, $5,000; New Teacher of the Year Micheal Rowley, Mid-Del Public Schools, $5,000; Postsecondary Teacher of the Year Josie Scott, Metro Tech, $7,500; and Teacher of the Year Mike Lindley, Wes Watkins Tech, $10,000.

The following also received awards at Summer Conference:

  • Sandra Patocka, Autry Tech, Carl Perkins Community Service Award.
  • Marty Lewis, Gordon Cooper Tech, Administrator of the Year.
  • Lori Evans, Pioneer Tech, Career Guidance.
  • Darla Buck, Southern Tech, Communications and Marketing Award.
  • Tulsa Public Schools, State Superintendent’s Award.
  • Christy Prather-Skinner and Jennifer McGrail, both of Francis Tuttle Tech; Elizabeth Nicholas, Autry Tech; Karla Graham, Metro Tech; and Michael Newnam and Kimberly Hardaway, both of Kiamichi Tech, New Professional awards.
  • Francis Tuttle Tech, Kaleidoscope Award.
  • Metro Tech and Wes Watkins Tech, Distinguished Achievement awards.
  • Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, and Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow, Distinguished Service awards.
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