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Director's Memo 2020-08-31

Monday, August 31, 2020

Teacher Academy registration opens

Registration is open for CareerTech Teacher Academy, a professional development opportunity for new and experienced teachers. Topics will include technology, instructional strategies, classroom management, instructional planning and information on CTSOs.

Teacher Academy will be Sept. 15 and Jan. 28. The Sept. 15 session will be in a virtual format with no registration fee. The details are pending on the Jan. 28 session.

CareerTech Champion: Joe Muchiri Wathika - Francis Tuttle Technology Center and BPA

Then: His classmates saw a shy young immigrant from Kenya with a heavy African accent that was difficult to understand. Joe Muchiri Wathika said he wanted to learn how to edit videos, so the Deer Creek High School student enrolled in Sherri Gleaves’ class at Francis Tuttle Technology Center. Wathika learned the ins and outs of broadcast and video production, but he said those skills aren’t the ones that changed his life.

Wathika described himself as a self-conscious, introverted teenager before he enrolled. He tried to withdraw into a shell, but his instructor continually challenged him to do more. He rose to Gleaves’ challenges and served as a chapter, state and even national president in Business Professionals of America, the CareerTech leadership organization for students in business, marketing and information technology education.

“Mrs. Gleaves helped me cultivate character and a sense of responsibility that continues to transform my life,” Wathika said.

In addition to self-confidence and positive character development, he said he gained public speaking skills and study habits that enabled him to

  • Receive the Chesapeake Scholarship to study economics at Oklahoma City University.
  • Receive the Gilman and Boren scholarships to study Chinese in Taiwan.
  • Hold multiple leadership positions in student government and lead the ethics debate team.

“Choosing to be involved in CareerTech was the most important and impactful decision I made in high school,” he said.

Now: Wathika is a financial services representative at Oklahoma’s Credit Union. He said he uses the skills he learned from Gleaves’ class every day. He is able to clearly communicate to members, and as a result of Gleaves’ mentorship, Wathika has built a character based on integrity, humility and honesty.

“I definitely owe it all to the marvelous woman, Mrs. Gleaves! She was a universe, more than a teacher!”

Joe Muchiri Wathika, Oklahoma’s Credit Union

Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation, tech centers secure aviation education grants

The Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation and two technology centers were among 38 organizations that received Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants or contracts totaling over $330,000 from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission.

The record amount of funding will be used to encourage more of Oklahoma’s students to enter STEM careers, particularly those in aerospace and aviation.

The CareerTech Foundation’s Oklahoma Education and Industry Partnership program received an education grant, along with Mid-Del Technology Center and Metro Technology Centers.

Read more about the grants on the CareerTech website.

Business and Industry Services Certification Program kept on track

Business and Industry Services Certification Program participants were able to continue their certification virtually with coordination by Lori Laufer and Cara Pattison, both ODCTE regional coordinators.

With the help from ODCTE staff and technology center staff, BISCP participants were able to engage in conversation, as well as expand on their mentorship activities. A special thank you to the speakers for helping to keep the program moving forward.

Speakers and topics that were covered included the following:

  • Jennifer Wehrenberg, ODCTE leadership and professional development coordinator “CareerTech’s Master Educator Program.” 
  • A.J. Crowell, ODCTE career development specialist, “CareerTech’s Connect 2 Business Program.”
  • John Thorpe, Central Technology Center director of transportation and safety education, “Central Technology Center’s Truck Driver Training Program.”
  • Krista Scammahorn, Francis Tuttle Technology Center workforce development consultant, “Email Etiquette.” 
  • Tara Porter, Canadian Valley Technology Center SafeLandUSA Advisory Group member, “SafeLand.”
  • James Swigart, Canadian Valley Technology Center wind energy instructor, “Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Wind Energy Program.”

Useful links

Follow us on Twitter at @okcareertech and find us on Facebook at OklahomaCareerTech and on Instagram at oklahomacareertech and read our blog, Oklahoma CareerTech Delivers. Find our podcast at

For news about Oklahoma’s CareerTech System, subscribe to CareerTech communications.

There’s a lesson to be learned in everything you experience. - Edward Young

Last Modified on May 15, 2023
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