I was thinking the other day that if February is CTE Month, May should be CTE Leadership Month, or at least ACTEAZ Leadership Month. We have announced our 2012-13 student scholarship winners, and our 2012-13 ACTEAZ award winners have been selected. Nominations for the new ACTEAZ Board of Directors have been received with elections to be held soon, and our new 2013-14 Fellows class has been named. It is a testimony to the strength of ACTEAZ leadership that there is never a shortage of highly qualified individuals to choose from whether it is for awards, or for the many leadership roles that present themselves within the Arizona CTE community.
Selecting the recipients of student scholarships is an arduous undertaking every year. Nicole Hampton and her committee are to be commended for carefully screening and reading each of the applications. With so many talented and deserving students, nominated by their ACTEAZ member teachers, it is a challenging task to select the winners. All of those selected are leaders within their CTSOs and/or their career pathways. It is hoped that with our help they will continue to demonstrate the leadership skills we have taught them and become leaders within their college communities and ultimately within each of their chosen professions. Each year I am so impressed with the poise and professionalism each of these students displays as they walk across the stage in Tucson to accept their scholarships. It is impossible to be a CTE educator and not feel a sense of pride in these remarkable young people.
Before becoming President of ACTEAZ, I was privileged to serve in the role of Vice-President, and therefore Chairman of the Awards Committee. Each year representatives from our various affiliates volunteer to read and select our award winners. As with the student scholarship winners, selecting our outstanding CTE professionals was equally challenging for this year’s Award Chairman, John Mulcahy and his committee. But while it is a challenging task, it is also a rewarding one. One of the drawbacks of our demanding profession is that we don’t often get to see our fellow professionals at work. I have had the opportunity this year to travel around the state and visit a number of our programs from high schools to JTEDs to Community Colleges. I have been blown away by the quality of the instruction, the dedication, and the outstanding programs being presented throughout our state, all happening everyday while we are busy doing our own jobs. For those who have the opportunity to work on the Awards Committee, they have the rare glimpse into the remarkable leadership being demonstrated by individuals from around our state and in every facet of CTE. The expertise and experience of the winners are demonstrated proof that they are consummate leaders in their CTE specialties. Each year these leaders continually raise the bar for CTE. Their accomplishments challenge each of us to work harder, reach higher, contribute more and feel the pride in a job well done.
I am also proud to announce the selection of the 2013-14 Fellows Class. This year we welcome one of the most diverse groups of CTE professionals we have ever had. While they represent the broad scope of CTE, they all share one thing in common—a desire to improve their leadership and advocacy skills. Becoming a Fellow is no small commitment. Fellows commit to a three-year program of leadership training at the local, state and national level. They also commit to seeking leadership positions either within CTE or impacting CTE. These leadership roles can range from positions at the local level, within affiliates, serving on school boards or in political offices, on the ACTEAZ Board or committees, as well as many others. Different skill sets among the fellows will dictate the leadership positions with which they feel most comfortable and most effective. It is also important to note the commitment also made by each Fellow’s district or organization. Without their support, the Fellows program would be impossible to sustain. Each of the supporting institutions is also demonstrating their dedication to the importance of well-trained leaders within CTE. Each Fellow, their support network and ACTEAZ recognize that quality leadership is essential to the continued growth and stability of both our profession and our mission.
The deadline for submitting nominations for the ACTEAZ Board was April 26th. President-elect Stephen Weltsch is currently validating the nominations that were received to be sure each candidate meets the specific criteria for the office they seek. Elections will follow shortly and you will be notified of the voting instructions. This is also an important time of year to stay in contact with your affiliate as many of them are also filling leadership positions for the coming year.
As I believe I have said every month, CTE is better positioned in our state than I have ever seen before. This was well documented in a recently released study by the prestigious Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University. I urge you to read this report. However, it is important to point out that CTE did not just magically pop up on the radar. Leaders within the CTE community, including ACTEAZ and ADE among others, have worked long and hard to bring CTE to the forefront. They have never waivered from their dedication to the creed… CTE Works. We are beginning to see the results of their determination. However, the journey doesn’t end here. New leaders must step forward to carry on. You all have leadership abilities. Where do yours fit in? The opportunities are endless. Step up to help us continue our overall mission, which reads in part, “…to provide leadership in developing an educated, prepared, adaptable and competitive workforce…”. According to John C. Maxwell, “a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”. Please consider becoming that leader as CTE moves forward into Arizona’s second century.