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CareerTech conference expands as it goes virtual

Aug. 3, 2020

Oklahoma CareerTech’s move to a virtual state conference has allowed the agency to offer more educational opportunities to its instructors and staff members than ever before.

The 53rd annual Oklahoma Summit, held in partnership with the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education, will be Aug. 4-5. More than 4,000 CareerTech employees from across Oklahoma are expected to participate.

“No matter what opportunities this year has presented or continues to present, our CTE staff and educators throughout the system are steadfast in maintaining flexibility, innovation and quality education delivery,” said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma CareerTech state director. “Our first virtual Summit is a great example of continuing to move forward and adapting to current conditions. This virtual option allows our educators to gather together at their schools or individually.

“With our partner OkACTE, this is an opportunity for the more than 4,000 CareerTech educators statewide to connect, learn and be recognized for their exceptional accomplishments.”

In past years, CareerTech teachers, counselors, administrators and staff members from technology centers, pre-K-12th grade schools and the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education have gathered in Oklahoma City or Tulsa to meet with colleagues from across the state to learn what they can do to make the system even better.

Because of the pandemic, they will not be able to meet in person this year, but through a virtual platform will still be able to discuss ideas and advancements in CareerTech education and to take advantage of many more professional development opportunities. In 2019, attendees were able to choose from six spotlight sessions offering professional development; this year, they will be able to choose from 36 sessions, all of which will be recorded for later viewing also.

Topics will include virtual CareerTech classes, distance learning, inclusivity work-based learning, medical marijuana, career development, digital tools, continuing education for instructors and staff, discrimination, unconscious biases, employability skills, mental health and customer service.

Tony Brigmon of Southwest Airlines will give the keynote speech during a general session for all participants. As Southwest’s ambassador of fun, Brigmon helped the airline reward humor and creativity to get serious results. He has worked with more than 2,000 organizations to transform their cultures and engage their employees.

In addition, the CareerTech System will also honor the Oklahoma CareerTech Teacher of the Year, the Postsecondary Teacher of the Year, the Outstanding New Teacher and the Support Staff Award winner, each of whom will receive a monetary award from Express Employment Professionals. A number of other awards will also be presented, including the Francis Tuttle, Arch Alexander and Gold Star awards.

“Our mission is to provide quality leadership and professional development opportunities for our outstanding CareerTech educators, and our annual summer conference is the cornerstone of our gatherings,” said Skye McNiel, OkACTE executive director. “Members come away refreshed and learn new skills and techniques to help them in their careers. We also take the time to recognize excellence among the many outstanding educators who serve our state.”

McNiel will also present the OkACTE Bob Funk Advocate of Excellence Award, named for Express Employment Professionals co-founder and president, Bob Funk Sr.

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 58 campuses, 394 K-12 school districts, 16 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 adult basic education service providers.

The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.

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