OKLAHOMA CITY – The 55th Annual Oklahoma Academic CareerTech Education (OKACTE) Summit Conference, recently held in Tulsa, brought together over 4,000 professionals to provide networking, professional development and recognition to those who have contributed to the success of CareerTech.
Metro Technology Centers was recognized as a Gold Star School for the 22nd year and several district officials, including the assistant superintendent of instruction, received top honors.
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, David Martin, received the OKACTE Arch Alexander Award, one of the highest CareerTech honors awarded annually.
Martin, who has been with Metro Technology Centers for 24 years, said he didn’t expect to win an award like this. “It’s a tremendous honor and one that I share with the entire Metro Tech family,” said Martin.
The Arch Alexander Award recognizes a CareerTech educator who has made significant contributions in the area of program development for CareerTech education in the State of Oklahoma. The University of Oklahoma, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies established the Arch Alexander Award in honor of Dr. Arch Alexander, former Assistant State Director.
According to his peers, Martin’s leadership strengths include strategic planning and data analysis. At Metro Tech, he makes data-driven decisions based on student and employer feedback. He serves on multiple boards that help establish, promote, and implement quality career training.
During the awards presentation, Martin was lauded for his ability to align instruction and programs to the mission of preparing students for successful employment in a global society. He was credited for making significant contributions to program development through his relationships with AT&T, the Community Action Agency, the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club and Oklahoma City Public Schools.
Martin’s contributions to the district are represented in many ways such as his board memberships across several Oklahoma City organizations including the University of Central Oklahoma’s Educational Leadership Advisory Board, Community Action Agency of Oklahoma City Board, the MTC Foundation Board, the Salvation Army and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Oklahoma Board.
Other Metro Tech employees were also honored. These awards recognize excellence and dedication within the field of career and technical education among ACTE members. Recipients of these awards are individuals who have contributed to the success of CareerTech Education (CTE) through the quality of their work and their involvement in the community.
At the OKACTE Awards Banquet, Senior Director of Human Resources, Romel Muex, and Health Careers Instructional Coordinator, Jason Lankford, were both recipients of the Outstanding New Professional Award.
Karen Upton was awarded the Teacher of the Year Award as well as a $10,000 check from Express Employment Professionals, Bob Funk, for her innovation in the classroom, commitment to students and dedication to the improvement of CTE in her role as an Instructor of Biomedical Sciences. Recently Upton was promoted to Metro Tech Extension Programs Site Director.
“There are so many CareerTech teachers who do wonderful things across our state, so it is truly an honor to win this award,” Upton said. “As a teacher I have loved watching students grow in their confidence and getting to play a role in their growth and success.”
Chelsea Herndon-Hance, STEM Biomedical Sciences and Human Body Systems Instructor, was a finalist for the New Teacher of The Year Award, which recognizes new career tech instructors who have made significant contributions toward innovative and unique career and technical education programs.
Lab Simulation Skills Coordinator, Josie Scott, and Surgical Tech Instructor, Cindy Srite, were recognized for their roles in the OKACTE National Leadership Fellowship Program. Providing leadership development for CTE Educators, The Fellowship Program assists ACTE individuals in further developing their leadership skills in CTE and their involvement in professional associations.
Health Careers Instructional Design Specialist, Brittney Waugh, and Aviation Careers Instructional Design Specialist, Christi Risley, both received the Acrylic Award for serving as divisional officers with the Oklahoma ACTE New and Related Services division. This division represents individuals from emerging areas of career and technical education unrelated to an established ACTE Division or individuals from areas that provide specialized support to broad areas of CTE that often cut across all Divisions.
Finally, in Trade and Industrial (T&I) Education Awards, Evening Programs Director, Joel Rogers, was awarded the T&I Golden Fork Award. This award recognizes a teacher who transitions to an administrator position. Formerly, Rogers acted as an instructor of welding, and was recently promoted to evening programs director.
As an OKACTE Gold Star School, Metro Technology Centers has met demanding criteria demonstrating a high level of excellence. The Gold Star Program provides recognition to districts with exemplary programs designed to meet a broad spectrum of community needs.
Metro Tech Superintendent, Aaron Collins, said recognitions like the Gold Star Award are only achieved through diligence, a strong mission, purpose and employees who have a passion for education and community service.
“Our district has decades of experience in building community and workforce partnerships and quality career training programs. Ensuring each employee and area is thriving to achieve Gold Star school status for the past 22 years is an accomplishment,” Collins said. “It takes a lot of moving parts to provide the high quality career training, and I am so proud that we have delivered successfully on that collaborative effort.”
Metro Tech has four campuses offering short-term, career and customized business training. Campuses are located in South Oklahoma City, Northeast Oklahoma City, the Will Rogers Airport and Downtown Oklahoma City.
For more information, visit metrotech.edu.