The 54th annual conference will be held August 1-3 at the Oklahoma City Convention Center. It will feature professional development opportunities along with recognition of Oklahoma CareerTech System employees. (Conference at-a-glance)
This year’s keynote speaker will be retired Navy Cmdr. John Herrington, who flew on the space shuttle Endeavour. In 2002, Commander Herrington flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-113, the 112th Shuttle mission, as the 143rd person to walk in space and the first Native American in history. Find out more about Commander John Herrington here.
CareerTech grad got his career off the ground F.A.S.T.
THEN: He had aviation in his blood. Jesse Moore’s grandfather worked in aviation before Jesse was born. That family history may have been in the back of his mind when a group of students from Tulsa Technology Center’s aviation program gave a presentation at Owasso High School. Still two years away from graduation, Moore didn’t have much of a career plan, and the tech center presentation piqued his interest.
He enrolled in Tulsa Tech’s aviation generals, airframe and powerplant program at about the same time Sheryl Oxley started teaching. Moore said many of his classmates signed up for the program to get away from their high school for half a day, but he quickly realized there was more to the class than a change of scenery.
“Sheryl Oxley got me hooked,” he said. “She was even instrumental in my decision to join the Air National Guard.”
In additional to stoking his love of airplanes, Moore said Oxley and the aviation program
Helped him learn time management skills.
Showed him the importance of attention to detail.
Taught him how to read and understand manuals.
Gave him a general mechanical understanding and overview of how things work.
“Tulsa Tech gave me everything I needed for a long lasting and successful aviation career,” he said.
Moore and a classmate were offered a free trip to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Airventure, an annual air show and gathering of aviation enthusiasts in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Moore said it was one of the most memorable trips of his life. A decade later, he still volunteers at Airventure.
His first job out of school, Moore worked for Phoenix Rising Aviation, maintaining Falcon jets. He later joined a field and airborne support team with Gulfstream, a move he said catapulted his career forward. With F.A.S.T., he traveled all over, troubleshooting and solving complex mechanical issues.
NOW: After fixing a customer’s airplane one day, Moore was offered a job on the spot. He accepted the position he has today, corporate aircraft maintenance technician in Boston.
“A&P school teaches you how to learn and read manuals, do things correctly and understand why and how things work together. You can apply those skills to anything in life and become successful.“
Also at the conference, Julia Lewis, Indian Capital Technology Center, received a HOSA Hero Award for performing CPR and helping save a man’s life. David Kelly, former Oklahoma HOSA state president and HOSA national president, received a Distinguished Alumni Service Award.
In the Anatomage competition at the conference, Super Baguettes from Tulsa Technology Center’s biomedical sciences high school extension program at Union High School placed third, and Team Rads for Life from Metro Technology Centers’ radiologic technology program placed fourth. This was Oklahoma HOSA’s first time to compete in the Anatomage event at the International Leadership Conference.
In competitions, Oklahoma HOSA members received three first places, four second places, five third places, four fourth places, six fifth places, five sixth places, three seventh places, two eighth places, one ninth place and three 10th places and had one person in the top 10 for the secondary health care issues exam.
Oklahoma HOSA was recognized for being the state with the highest combined volunteer hours for the HOSA service project, Be The Match. Oklahoma HOSA also won the Barbara James Service Award with 4,518.65 hours of community service.
CareerTech instructor transitioned from blue coat to white coat.
THEN: The first female to become a national FFA officer. Julie Smiley Foster was a high school student in Mount Vernon, Washington, when she enrolled in agricultural education and joined her local FFA chapter. FFA is the CareerTech student organization aligned with agricultural education.
It was there she learned numerous life skills from her instructor and chapter adviser. That was back in the 1970s, but Smiley Foster still recalls how he coached her and helped her win the state’s public speaking contest.
“To be able to speak to people I know and don’t know, whether planned or unplanned, has been a gift,” she said.
It was a gift that kept giving after high school. A few weeks after graduation, Smiley Foster was elected FFA state president, the first female to serve in that capacity. It wasn’t her only first, however. She continued to shatter glass ceilings in college when she was elected Western Region vice president for the national organization – the first female to hold a national office.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism (with a double major in agriculture science and journalism) from Texas A&M University and a master’s in counseling from Midwestern State University.
In addition to helping run the family farm for more than two decades, Smiley Foster taught junior high and high school science. She said she uses many of the skills she gained from FFA both in and out of the classroom. In addition to public speaking, she learned
How to plan, organize and follow through to produce successful events.
The importance of saying thank you and the value of writing thank-you notes.
How to speak to adults in business and how to remember names.
NOW: A National Board Certified instructor at Francis Tuttle Technology Center’s Biosciences and Medicine Academy. She teaches biomedical innovation and honors anatomy and physiology. Smiley Foster is an adviser for HOSA Future Health Professions, the CareerTech student organization that aligns with health careers education.
“CareerTech education is hands-on, problem-solving, skills-based and how-to-get-a-job training,” she said. “My purpose is to prepare students for the marathon of acquiring a career as a health professional.”
She said the professionalism she learned in the ag classroom is also a big part of her biosciences classroom. Smiley Foster said she hopes she’s a bit like her FFA adviser, Mr. Howell, who required the best of his students.
“I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life,” she said.
The Tahlequah High School student said she knew she liked helping people, but she wasn’t sure which career path to take. At Indian Capital, she
Learned how to stay calm in intense situations. (See links to stories below)
Developed time management and organizational skills.
Learned how to work independently.
Received certifications in phlebotomy, nursing assistant, CPR, AED and first aid.
The 17-year-old’s career path was reaffirmed this spring when she was called upon to save a man’s life. Riding downtown with her friends, Lewis saw a group of people surrounding a man who was in distress.
“I didn’t think twice about getting out to help him,” Lewis said, adding that she got out of the car while it was still moving. The man wasn’t breathing, and Lewis immediately called 911 and then performed CPR until the paramedics arrived.
Lewis is being hailed as a hero and received an award from the Tahlequah Police Department. She also received the HOSA Hero Award during the group’s International Leadership Conference. HOSA is the CareerTech student organization for future health professionals.
NOW: The CareerTech program helped Lewis narrow her career plans within the health care field. She is now a certified nursing assistant and phlebotomist., and plans to become a dentist or dental hygienist.
Her instructor, Andrea McElmurry, described Lewis as bold, brave, and mature beyond her years. She added that Lewis strives to do her best in every situation.
“She has a bright future ahead of her, and I know she will accomplish her goals,” McElmurry said.
Ex-offender credits welding instructor for sparking his interest in learning.
Then: An addict, incarcerated for dealing drugs. Nicholas Mullaney served his time and was released from prison three years ago, taking with him much more than his freedom. Mullaney completed the metal manufacturing/welding program at Granite Skills Center and said his instructor, Martin “Chipper” Nickell, taught him the skills he would need to land a decent paying job after his release.
“He was an amazing instructor with a great heart,” Mullaney said. “I was lucky to have had the opportunity to have him as my instructor before his passing.”
At Granite Skills Center, Mullaney
Learned how to weld. He said he had never touched welding equipment before entering the program.
Gained self-confidence, knowing he would be able to land a good-paying job with his new skills.
Became motivated to continue learning.
“After realizing I could absorb so much knowledge,” Mullaney said, “it sparked my interest to expand my knowledge even more.”
Mullaney is working on a college degree in marketing and professional sales and has maintained a 4.0 GPA.
Hired as a welding fabricator at Metro Sign Corporation, Mullaney was later moved to the install team. He was recently honored with the company’s Employee Spotlight, and has received several pay increases since he started in 2018, as well as Christmas bonuses.
Now: He has paid health benefits at Metro Sign, and a company phone. Mullaney has his CDL permit, and when he completes the CDL test, he will receive another pay raise.
Mullaney rents a home and owns two vehicles, and he and his fiancé are expecting a baby boy this spring.
“My life has changed tremendously since this program. CareerTech gave me a skill I can take with me the rest of my life; no matter what happens in my future, that skill will always be there.”
CareerTech drove this shop manager to get his college degree.
THEN: His parents expected him to go to a four-year college and earn a degree. Larry Capps wasn’t sure that was what he wanted; he knew his true passion was working on cars. One afternoon when Capps was working on a friend’s car, he realized he was doing exactly what he wanted to do in the future.
Luckily, Capps’ mom didn’t stand in his way. She encouraged him to check out the automotive program at Gordon Cooper Technology Center, and he took her advice. He enrolled in the program, and when he graduated from Gordon Cooper Tech, he went on to get his associate degree at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology.
Capps said the GCTC program
Taught him core fundamentals of automotive repair.
Helped him develop leadership skills.
Allowed him to work with some of the leading minds in the industry.
Showed him how to take initiative.
He credits CareerTech for much of his professional success. “The instructors at CareerTech were truly concerned with my growth and helped to ensure my skill set was honed for success in a dealership,” he said.
NOW: Capps is shop manager for Fowler Toyota in Norman. He said the core fundamentals he mastered at GCTC allowed for a smooth transition into the automotive industry.
“My passion for CareerTech has not diminished since I completed the program.”
Oklahoma CareerTech student organization state officers recently attended CareerTech University at Camp Tulakogee in Wagoner, Oklahoma. Officers from all seven co-curricular CTSOs attended the conference, where they learned about goal-setting, time management, teamwork and presentation skills.
At CTU each year, officers participate in training sessions and group activities to help them lead their organizations. They also learn more about the Oklahoma CareerTech System during the event. CTU provides the student leaders an opportunity to come together and share ideas about how they can best represent the CareerTech System as a whole.
Oklahoma Education & Industry Partnership offers an outstanding professional development opportunity for Oklahoma educators each summer.
What is OEIP? These events are the ultimate teacher/industry connections! The mission is to create a pipeline for partnerships among educators, counselors, administrators, partners, students, industry leaders, government policy makers and members of the economic development community. See video here
Sessions will be June 10 at Green Pasture Studios in Spencer, June 16 on Zoom, July 15 at MidAmerica Industrial Park and Northeast Technology Center, July 20-22 at Metro Technology Centers and July 26 at Oklahoma City Community College.
When: June 10 Where: Green Pasture Studios, Spencer What: Industry Panel Studio Tour
The Air Force Association Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter presented Tonja Norwood with the Gerrity Chapter President’s STEM Education Award.
Norwood has been the program manager for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education since 2018. She previously served as an information technology program specialist in ODCTE’s Business, Marketing and Information Technology Education Division.
“Tonja has been instrumental in expanding STEM educational opportunities across the state,” said Marcie Mack, CareerTech state director. “Her dedication and leadership are vital to the success of our students, educators and future workforce. Tonja is very deserving of this award and recognition from AFA. We are honored to partner with them for the betterment of our state.”
Oklahoma CareerTech has partnered with the AFA Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter to provide CyberPatriot and StellarXplorers, providing classroom space and equipment, volunteer instructors and more, said Janelle Stafford, president of the chapter.
“Because of CareerTech’s involvement, we have had a much wider and more pervasive reach for both programs,” Stafford said. “Tonja has been at the very heart of all of this with our chapter. She knows these programs inside and out. She put in the time to get both programs certified as curriculum for Oklahoma Promise credits. Most recently, she undertook the certification training for the STK software used in StellarXplorers just so she would understand it better — not an easy thing to do!”
Norwood is also leading an effort to establish a train-the-trainer summer camp for StellarXplorers and is involved in both CyberPatriot and StellarXplorer student camps this summer, Stafford said. The AFA chapter wanted to do something to show its appreciation for Norwood’s support, so it created the Gerrity Chapter President’s STEM Education Award, Stafford said.
“With the support of Tonja and CareerTech, the Gerrity Chapter will continue to grow STEM education in our state and invest in our future workforce,” she said.
About Oklahoma CareerTech
The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 59 campuses, 399 PK-12 school districts, 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 adult basic education service providers.
The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.