- Marc Belew, a precision machining technology instructor at Canadian Valley Technology Center, recently received the Outstanding Instructor of Non-Traditional Students Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council. Pictured are, from left, Bryce Fair, OSRHE associate vice chancellor for scholarships and grants; Becki Foster, Oklahoma CareerTech chief of staff; Belew; and Patrick Klein, Oklahoma DHS chief officer and division director of adult and family services.
He was one of 14 Oklahomans honored, along with four businesses and organizations, at the 26th annual Making It Work Day at the Capitol on Feb. 13. Making It Work Day recognizes individuals who are committed to removing barriers to success for single-parent families by providing educational experiences for students beyond the classroom. The presentations were made at a ceremony at the Oklahoma History Center. The ceremony also recognized nontraditional students.
Belew worked 18 years as a precision machinist before returning to the classroom to teach at CVTC. He became an instructor for two reasons: to expand his own learning and to give to students what his precision machining instructor had given to him, said Cecila Harroald, CVTC PIVOT instructor, who nominated him for the award.
“Mr. Belew is very passionate about equality in his classroom,” Harroald said. “He is very adamant in his class that everyone is treated as a human being -- whether they be male or female. Everyone shows one another respect. No one is treated any differently.”
At the same time, she said, he recognizes that everyone has different learning styles and teaches them accordingly.
Belew encourages his students to succeed and looks forward to hearing from former students about their successes, Harroald said. One former student credits him with teach life lessons along with precision machinery, she added.
Belew was named Teacher of the Year in 2017 and Northwest District SkillsUSA Advisor for the 2017-18 school year and has coached the SkillsUSA business and chapter team for 11 years, winning multiple state competitions. He recently graduated with honors from the University of Central Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree.
OkCTEEC is affiliated with the administrative division of the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education. The council advocates for students pursuing nontraditional careers and for resources for educating single parents.
“The mission of OkCTEEC is to increase the awareness of collegiate and technical education by focusing on high expectations and full participation for all students and employees in career and education in Oklahoma. The Making It Work Day Ceremony is held to recognize those individuals, programs and business partners that have worked so hard throughout the year as well as bring a direct awareness to state senators and legislators,” said KayTee Niquette, Work Prep and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.
She serves as an adviser for OkCTEEC, along with Lisa French of the Department of Human Services and Gina McPherson of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
“Making it Work Day is our annual opportunity to spotlight the investment and hard work that is being done to empower our students who are single parents and most often first generation students who dream and want to pursue higher education,” said Lisa D. Brown, OkCTEEC president and director for career transitions at Oklahoma City Community College. “We encourage them to aspire to set goals as never before, take the steps to achieve those goals and then gain the confidence and success of completing those goals.
“Making it Work Day is their red carpet moment to celebrate these successes and to show and not just tell Oklahoma that this program and its funding is well spent and valuable to the lives of these individuals, not for that moment but for a lifetime. I often relate what we do to the story of the butterfly that finally leaves the cocoon being transformed as confident, beautiful, strong and free to soar.”
OkCTEEC’s purposes include promoting and supporting career and technology education, increasing its effectiveness, promoting research in the field and in educational equity, developing leadership and advocating for equity and diversity.