Please join me in recognizing and honoring the great loss of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. ACTEAZ sends our deepest sympathy and gratitude to their families.  Our sympathy is also with their former teachers, some of whom were CTE teachers.  And we send our sympathy to the town of Prescott with whom we feel a special connection through our Mid-Winter Conference.  We are proud of each of these young men and their sacrifice will not be forgotten.

This is my last letter as President of ACTEAZ.  It has been a joy to serve you in this role over the past year.  I have loved meeting so many of you.  I have loved traveling around the state, meeting your students and seeing your programs.  Because of your expertise and dedication, I am convinced CTE is strong and well in the state of Arizona and moving in the right direction.  Will Rogers once said, “If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple.  Know what you are doing.  Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.”  I saw success demonstrated over and over again this past year.  My thanks to all of you for all you do everyday for our students and our profession.

Speaking of success, ACTEAZ has accomplished a great deal this year.  Our strategic plan charged us with four goals:

  • To improve state outreach
  • To improve membership benefits
  • To develop a Premier Program of professional development
  • To strengthen the Fellows program

I am proud to say we have made significant progress in each of these areas.  If ACTEAZ is to be a truly statewide organization, we must reach all the areas of our state both urban and rural.  This year we have visited programs and talked to our members around the state, especially those in rural areas.  We hope to continue this effort next year.  We have improved member benefits in many ways, but we hope the most impactful will be the elimination of membership fees.  We want all CTE professionals across Arizona to have access to ACTEAZ membership advantages.  We also see increased advocacy for CTE because as membership increases so does our voice.  There is strength in numbers.  Our Premier Program for professional development aimed at helping teachers be successful is up and running.  It too will be offered around the state.  This series of eight classes provides for optional college credit if needed to help teachers move from provisional to standard certification.  This is one of the first programs of its type in the nation.  The Fellows program has been strengthened.  Because the Fellows program provides extensive leadership training, it is critical to the future of our organization.  It is in the best interest of ACTEAZ to constantly strive to raise the bar. This coming year we welcome one of the largest and most diverse Fellows classes ever.  And in keeping with state outreach, they represent almost every corner of our state.

As I leave office I know I could not have gone this road alone.  My special thanks go to past- president Curt Bertlesen.  He left very big shoes to fill when I took this job.  His friendship and mentorship have been invaluable.  Curt is a driving force for CTE in Arizona and his constant example was an inspiration.

I would also like to thank the ACTEAZ Executive Board Officers, Stephen Weltsch, Curt Bertlesen, Amanda Shively, John Mulcahy and Christine Nelson.  Their focus and concern for the success of our association was constant and unwavering.  The Board of Directors was equally dedicated.  ACTEAZ has been served well by those members from our affiliates and stakeholders who have given their time to bring us critical information from their associations or institutions and for addressing the critical issues that impact us as an organization.  Their commitment provides a constant direction that enables our success.

Our Association benefits from a strong partnership with the Arizona Department of Education.  Superintendent John Huppenthal truly understands that CTE Works.  Through his vision and leadership CTE is a vital component of the new strategic plan for Arizona’s education future and an integral part of the definition of a highly effective school.  Through the direction and focus of Associate Superintendent Marv Lamer, and with the help of Deputy Superintendent Dan Brown, these are exciting times for CTE in our state.  I extend my special thanks to them and everyone at ADE for a great year.

Finally, I would like to thank Executive Director Pam Ferguson and Assistant Executive Director Shelly York. There are really no words to express my appreciation for all their support.  They offered help and encouragement whenever I needed it, even if it was the middle of the night.  They give countless hours above and beyond to make ACTEAZ a model association that the entire rest of the country looks up to. They keep ACTEAZ working on a daily basis for all of us and we all owe them a debt of gratitude for what they do to make us proud.

I’m excited that Stephen Weltsch is your new 2013-2014 ACTEAZ president.  Stephen is going to be an outstanding president! He will do an excellent job in representing us all.  Stephen, thank you for your support this year and I wish you, ACTEAZ and Arizona CTE the best year yet.

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

Henry Ford