CTE Post-Secondary Educator of the Year


Teresa Vernon

Cochise College

Teresa Vernon has worked with Cochise Technology District CTED and Cochise County high schools to build a team of instructors and high-quality curriculum to give our high school students the knowledge and skills to become caring and highly trained healthcare professionals. Teresa works with long-term care facilities and hospitals to ensure students are well-prepared to provide for the individual needs of patients in diverse healthcare settings. She now oversees programs at 9 high schools and 4 college campuses. Teresa is the lead instructor for our healthcare team. Each day, she livestreams with students from 7 small, rural high schools in 1 virtual classroom and provides leadership to a team of 8 high school instructors and paraprofessionals. Through her leadership in the past five years, 113 CNA and 57 DCW certifications have been earned by our students.

Teresa has been the driving force for certifications. “Driving force” is literal as she drives to a different rural school every day for face-to-face time with students in the Nursing Services and Home Health Aide Programs. Teresa organizes a Mega Lab each year with over 60 volunteers to provide authentic experiences for students.

Additionally, Teresa oversees programs for our two larger school districts which have enrolled over 131 CNA students in the past five years. Her program has high certification percentages resulting in well over 200 CNAs produced in Cochise County over the last five years. She meets with them formally at an annual advisory meeting and informally via high school site visits or teleconferences. Through Teresa’s partnership with the CTED, a program was developed, and 87 home health aides have been certified in the last three years. Teresa was part of the initial small state-wide team that worked with the ADE and AHCCCS to bring the Home Health Aide Program to high schools. Since 2019, this program has resulted in 50 rural Cochise County students earning Direct Care Worker industry certifications with 27 more to earn their certifications this spring. Teresa has been a guest speaker at the AZ State Board of Nursing annual Nursing Assistant Educators Retreat. She serves on the Nursing Assistant Test Advisory Panel and the Train the Trainer Committee for the AZ State Board of Nursing.