Dean Denton graduated from Coweta High School in 1965, having spent his formative years through 12th grade in one school building. In the ninth grade, he knew that he wanted to become a teacher. He majored in business education at Northeastern State University, where he encountered his first electric typewriter -- the IBM Selectric. A teaching internship at Muskogee High School led to a job with the district. Two years later, he accepted a position in the newly opened Indian Capital Technology Center.
After he worked a few years in business and industry, a call from a friend led to his employment at Broken Arrow High School. For the next 32 years, BAHS and the CareerTech BITE division were Denton’s home. During this time, he had a positive impact on thousands of students. His cooperative work program provided students with lifelong skills and the aptitude to enter the workforce upon graduation.
Denton involved himself and his students in numerous projects that led to recognition for both students and teacher. Projects included Cat Tracks, in which students presented career awareness lessons to elementary students, and Careers on Wheels, in which fifth-graders talked with business leaders about careers that required vehicles.
Denton received the BITE Division and OkACTE Teacher of the Year awards; three Pride awards; the American Dream Award from 1996 Miss America Shawntel Smith for involvement with school-to-work initiatives; and numerous local awards. He held all officer positions in the BITE Division and received recognition as the FBLA and BPA adviser; was the OkACTE awards committee chairman and stage manager for events; was a Microsoft user specialist and teacher trainer; was BAHS CareerTech department chairman and served on the BASIS Cadre and the restructuring committee; and served on the Region IV School-To-Work Council as a member and secretary.
Becoming a National Board Certified Teacher was a career-defining experience and led to his creating the Oklahoma CareerTech NBCT workshops to encourage CareerTech instructors to pursue certification. Denton then became involved statewide in Education Leadership Oklahoma, the scholarship and training segment of Oklahoma’s NBCT initiative. He also worked with Southern Nazarene University to develop a master’s degree program focusing on national board standards.
Denton also met his wife, Patty, through the BITE Division. She was a BITE teacher at Catoosa and Tulsa Tech. They have two children, Ashley and Tyler, and three grandchildren.
Denton was inducted into the CareerTech Hall of Fame in 2015.