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‘A champion for students’: Former CareerTech State Director Ann Benson dies

Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Ann Benson, Oklahoma CareerTech state director from 1999 to 2002, died in the early morning of Oct. 1. She was 77.

Benson succeeded Roy Peters in 1999 as state director of what was then the Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education. She was the first woman to hold the position and oversaw the system’s change to the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

She began her educational career teaching home economics in her hometown of Coyle and joined Oklahoma CareerTech as a curriculum specialist in 1973. While at CareerTech, she directed the Mid-America Vocational Curriculum Consortium, a multistate project to develop and distribute curricula, during its first 10 years. In 1985, she became assistant state director for educational services.

Benson led the initiative for basic skills integration in CareerTech courses to strengthen academic performance. Also during her tenure as state director, Oklahoma CareerTech received a $2.2 million grant to manage a national career clusters initiative and created the CareerTech Learning Network.

Also under her leadership, CareerTech prepared the Skills to Rebuild curriculum to equip people with the skills they would need to repair homes and businesses after the May 3, 1999, tornadoes. She also signed the Tinker Education Partnership Agreement committing CareerTech to train employees for Tinker Air Force Base.

Benson retired in December 2002. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Oklahoma CareerTech Hall of Fame in 2005.

“The Oklahoma CareerTech family is saddened by the loss of Ann Benson, a great leader who inspired and motivated others to do more,” said Brent Haken, Oklahoma CareerTech state director. “Dr. Benson was a champion for students, for education and for Oklahoma. All of us get to decide how we live, and Dr. Benson decided to make a difference. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”

Benson was born Nov. 11, 1945, in Stillwater and graduated from Coyle High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics at Oklahoma State University, later earning a master’s degree and a doctorate at the university.

Survivors include her husband, Gene, and son and daughter-in-law, Brian and Brooke.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at First Presbyterian Church in Stillwater. Memorials may be made to the Brady Benson Scholarship, Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, 505 Ag Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078.

 

Oklahoma CareerTech: Education that works for you

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 60 campuses, 391 PK-12 school districts, 16 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 adult education and family literacy 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.

Last Modified on Jan 24, 2024