2009 Convention logo

Catch The New Rhythm of CTE
November 19-21, 2009—Nashville, TN

Thousands of career and technical educators descended into Nashville, Tennessee in November for the 2009 ACTE Annual Convention and Career Tech Expo. This convention brought many ACTE members the renewed energy and focus on the important role of CTE and how it plays in the lives of their students, schools and communities. Presentations from the 2009 ACTE Annual Convention are available here.

Jan BrayJan Bray Shares Insight on ACTE Development

ACTE’s executive director, Jan Bray, told attendees at the Opening General Session November 19 that this is CTE’s time. There is a window of opportunity for CTE to show its value in developing a skilled workforce, and a skilled workforce is inextricably linked to economic recovery, she said. “It is only by coming together are we going to take advantage of this opportunity,” Bray said. “When this window closes, we may never get it again.”

Bray said that, while the Association is reaching out to legislators on Capitol Hill and creating relationships with key organizations, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Governors Association, various industry partners and state education boards, it is critical that CTE professionals do their part in their communities. Bray asked educators to work to increase the Association’s membership so that it can have an even greater impact in policy and decision-making. “When you go home, tell all your CTE colleagues that they need to join,” she said. With more members ACTE could go to Capitol Hill and make a significant impact on the decision-making.

Brenda Dann-MessierOVAE’s New Assistant Secretary Speaks on Obama Administration Education Agenda

When compared to other students, those who take CTE coursework are closing the gap in their academic achievement, high school graduation rates and postsecondary transition rates, said Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, who has just begun her position five weeks before she joined ACTE in Nashville. The challenge now, she said, is to do more to strengthen the CTE system so that all students are equipped with the education they need to be success stories through better education and employment opportunities. American students are not just competing against each other, they’re competing against students from around the world, Dann-Messier said, and thus it is imperative that they receive a world-class education.

Dann-Messier noted that the U.S. Department of Education has identified four areas in which American education has fallen short and needs to be strengthened:

  • building a workforce of effective educators
  • adopting college and career readiness standards and assessments
  • turning around low-performing schools
  • developing robust data systems

“There is no question that a stronger education system is the foundation for a strong economy,” Dann-Messier said. “Recognizing the ties between workplace development, economic development and K-16 education reform will help keep our students competitive and our nation competitive in the marketplace.”

Jane OatesDOL and OVAE "Working Together" Says the Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and OVAE are working together to ensure the success of programs, said Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, during her presentation at the December 20 General Session. Among the ventures is to work with OVAE to “expand and grow the nature of apprenticeships” in such areas as allied health care, early childhood education and, most importantly, green jobs. Green jobs will be instrumental in the nation’s economic recovery, Oates said, and CTE is integral in helping to develop a pipeline of green workers for those jobs. “There will be new jobs created and, unfortunately, that [falls] on your doorsteps because these jobs are created you’ll have to be more nimble and flexible than you’ve ever been in the past.”

General Session Speakers

ACTE welcomed Jeff Henderson and Stedman Graham as keynote speakers for its Annual Convention in Nashville, Nov. 19-21.

2009 Convention Jeff HendersonJeff Henderson

South Central Los Angeles native and award-winning chef “Chef Jeff” Henderson opened the 2009 Convention as the Opening General Session speaker. Henderson is an award-winning chef who has served as the executive chef at the renowned Café Bellagio and Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. What makes Henderson so remarkable is his story of going from crack dealer to top chef.

Henderson grew up in South Central Los Angeles and San Diego and was raised by a single mother who worked as a welder. To earn money, Henderson turned to drugs, and by 19 he was running a million-dollar cocaine operation. Eventually arrested and incarcerated, he spent almost a decade in federal prison. During this time, he realized that being locked up had saved him and he discovered his passion for cooking while doing kitchen duty. Once out of prison, he channeled the same intense ambition that had nearly ruined his life to help him rise to the top of some of the best kitchens in the country. But as a convicted felon and a black man in the world of haute cuisine, he had to overcome many challenges.

Henderson began his professional career cooking at many influential restaurants, including Gadsy’s, L’Escale, the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Marina Del Rey, Zing and The Good Bar. He went on to become a sous chef at the world-renowned Mobil 5-Star Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, as well at Mobil 5-Star L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills.

In 2000, Henderson continued his rise, making history in Las Vegas as the first African-American Chef de Cuisine at Caesars Palace. He was later promoted to an executive chef position and has since held that position at several top restaurants in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. In 2001, the American Food and Wine Tasting Federation named Henderson “Las Vegas Chef of the Year.” He has since gone on to become the executive chef at the Bellagio, another first for an African American.

Henderson has been honored as one of the top African-American chefs by Black Enterprise magazine. His memoir, Cooked, was released in March 2007 and he is in discussions with production companies to produce his story and networks to star in his own reality show.

Henderson’s story inspired and reinforced to career and technical educators that the skills and education they provide are of real value.

2009 Convention Stedman GrahamStedman Graham

Businessman and author Steadman Graham said that great leaders encourage us to be the best we can be, and CTE educators are the leaders who can help students reach their full potential. Every day CTE professionals work to make students co-creators of their world—a world in which they must remain relevant, think outside the box, be consistent and assimilate. The world is full of potential, but we are often limited by the mental blocks and beliefs we carry with us about ourselves and our world. He urged CTE educators to think every day about what they’ve accomplished within 24 hours so that every day is a new beginning and an opportunity to maximize that full potential in their lives and in the lives of their students.

Graham is chairman and CEO of S. Graham & Associates, a management and marketing consulting company that specializes in the corporate and educational markets. Graham is a former adjunct professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, where he taught a leadership course. At the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, he taught a management strategy course. He also founded and directed George Washington University’s Forum for Sport and Event Management and Marketing—the first of its kind in the country.

Graham has authored 10 books, including two New York Times bestsellers, You Can Make It Happen: A Nine-step Plan for Success and Teens Can Make It Happen: Nine Steps to Success. His latest release, Diversity: Leaders Not Labels, includes his unique approach to eliminating barriers to success. Graham has worked with clients like Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Manpower, CNN, GlaxoSmithKline, American College of Sports Medicine, YMCA, U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Corps, Harvard and Wharton business schools and the U.S. Department of Education.

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Awards Recognition

ACTE honored several career and technical educators on November 20 this year at the 2009 Annual Convention. We would like to extend our congratulations again to the following teachers for the impact they have on our industry.

H. Mark American HorseTeacher of the Year - H. Mark American Horse

This award recognizes teachers who are providing outstanding CTE programs for youth and/or adults in their respective fields and communities. American Horse’s criminal justice courses received praise from the community, parents and colleagues. In addition, he counsels new teachers coming into the CTE industry.

Bea PaulOutstanding Career and Technical Educator - Bea Paul

This award recognizes career and technical educators who have recently provided or currently are providing significant contributions to professional association and CTE programs for youth and/or adults in their fields, communities and/or states. Paul’s work to bring industry and job opportunities to her school is being replicated in other parts of the state because of its success.

Stormie RobertsonOutstanding New CTE Teacher - Stormie Robertson

This award recognizes new career and technical educators who have recently provided or currently are providing significant contributions to professional associations and CTE programs for youth and/or adults in their fields, communities and/or states. Robertson’s dedication to her nursing students goes far beyond the classroom and always revolves around industry best practices and activities that develop communication, teamwork, leadership, conflict management, dependability, honesty and integrity.

Diane M. BullOutstanding Teacher in Community Service - Diane M. Bull

This award recognizes teachers with significant accomplishments and outstanding leadership in programs and activities that promote community involvement. It’s Bull’s commitment to the philosophy that “successful businesspeople give back to the community” that helped her to win over the judges.

09 Convention Exhibit Hall

Exhibit Hall

The 2009 ACTE Career Tech Expo hall was sold out and full of exciting opportunities. More than 200 exhibitors showcased the latest software, hardware, products and services aimed at helping career and technical educators be more successful. The always popular exhibitor workshops were standing room-only this year. Exhibitor workshops gave attendees the opportunity to learn about new products and services from exhibitors. Green emerged as a hot new topic. Everything from green construction to greening of the workforce were covered in these extremely informative sessions. Look for more green exhibitor workshops again in Las Vegas as ACTE and Career Tech Expo exhibitors help your school build effective green programs. The support of the companies and organizations that participate in the Career Tech Expo is invaluable to the industry and to ACTE. The Association encourages its members and attendees to contact and work with these exhibitors to meet your school or program needs.

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This year, ACTE broke new ground with its first ever unConference, a series of informal mini-sessions and discussions held at the ACTE and National Research Center for Career and Technical Education booths on the exhibit floor. Fifteen presenters hosted intimate presentations and conversations on topics ranging from professional development for CTE educators to Science-in-CTE research to business curricula ideas. In addition, ACTE continued offering online communication tools to enhance the event, including a Convention blog with session profiles and feedback from member bloggers.

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Annual Convention Addresses Green Tech

ACTE added a strand of sessions and workshops designed to help career and technical educators prepare and plan for the impact the green tech industry will have on their schools, programs and classes.

The strand began with a pre-Convention conference, led by NOCTI, that addressed how to turn green standards into curriculum. Sessions focused on wind-energy standards, green-building standards and program implementation and included a variety of case studies.

As a part of the general ACTE Annual Convention programming, there were sessions on:

  • Preparing the New Green-collar Workforce—a copy of The Green Collar Workforce curriculum will be shared
  • Green STEM Technology—focuses on the STEM side of green jobs
  • Green CTE—focuses on the greening of CTE curricula
  • Sustainability—delves into the teaching of sustainability as a 21st-century skill

In addition to these sessions, many of the ACTE Divisions also have sessions that address the issues of green tech and sustainability.

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