CTE Teacher of the Year


Curtis Willems

Gilbert Public Schools

Curtis Willems has been a teacher for over 34 years. Curtis is CTE Department Head and Agriculture Engineering and Fabrication Teacher in Gilbert Public Schools. Curtis has developed numerous lessons for ag engineering and shared with others in the state. He aligns classes with college curriculum so students can receive dual credit. He has obtained his OSHA training certification from University of San Diego to train students in safety.

He works closely with industry to develop internships that gives students real world experiences and developed a STEM Expo that highlights over 30 local companies and schools that support STEM Education on the CTE level. Curtis hosted statewide FFA Welding Contest and tool identification contest and over 500 students have participated. Highland has an FFA Membership of over 400 students which is one of the largest in the state. This was also the first program with three national gold winners. Last year there were over 25 national places achieved. Teachers have also been the beneficiary of Curtis’s leadership because of the 13 plus years he organized program tours at over 85% of Ag Programs thru out the state. This also spearheaded the implementation of our AATA program improvement plan that has since been funded by our FFA Foundation and Arizona Farm Bureau Ag In the Classroom which helps with teacher retention.

Curtis Willems serves on the FFA Advisory Board and holds the office of Vice-President and serves as Chairman of the FFA Ag Mechanics Divisions at the Maricopa County Fair and the Arizona National Livestock Show. Students get to showcase their talents, and also make profits from their hard work.

Students have demonstrated their technology skills, metal finishes and safety procedures as they built projects that have been donated to silent auctions that raise money for student scholarships. These items have been metal turtles, fire pits and other metal art decorative items. Because of Curtis Willems expertise, passion for CTE and leadership, he is definitely an outstanding choice for ACTEAZ Teacher of the Year.