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Six slated for induction into Oklahoma CareerTech Hall of Fame

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

The Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation will induct six people into the Oklahoma Career and Technology Education Hall of Fame in October.

This year’s inductees are Tom Friedemann, Randy Gilbert, Velta Reed-Johnson, Denise Morris, Joe Robinson and Jack Staats.

“Oklahoma is home to the best CareerTech system in the nation, and these six Hall of Fame honorees contributed much to the vision that has shaped career and technology education in Oklahoma,” said CareerTech State Director Brent Haken. “Each of these honorees played starring roles in the state’s journey to becoming the best in career and technology education. They have advanced the mission of CareerTech in unique and extraordinary ways.”

Friedemann spent 49 years in career and technology education, 19 of it at the state agency. He began his career teaching marketing education at Putnam City West High School before becoming assistant superintendent at Great Plains Technology Center in Lawton and then joining ODCTE. He moved to Francis Tuttle Technology Center as chief of staff in 1997 and became superintendent in 2009 and retired in 2019.

Friedemann received Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education’s Arch Alexander Award in 2009 and Francis Tuttle Career Excellence Award in 2013.

Gilbert has served on the State Board of Career and Technology Education for 20 years. He taught agricultural education and served as FFA adviser at Lawton High School from 1983 to 1988 and has since been operations manager and vice president of Gilbert and Sons Trucking Co. in Tecumseh.

Gilbert received the OkACTE Bob Funk Advocate of Excellence Award in 2023.

Reed-Johnson spent more than 30 years as an educator and leader, beginning her career as a home economics teacher in Beaver. She also taught in Forgan, Washington and Harrah. She was the first female administrator in Harrah Public Schools and helped build Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center, serving as assistant superintendent of secondary programs. She was the system’s first female superintendent when she joined Western Technology Center; she retired in 1997 as Pioneer Technology Center superintendent.

Morris became the Oklahoma Family, Career and Community Leaders of America state adviser in 1999; she retired from the position in 2020. She previously taught family and consumer sciences. She received National State Adviser of the Year awards, served on the National FCCLA Board of Directors as board chair, served as chair of the National Competitive Events Advisory Team and recently received the National Honorary Member Award. She also served as the Southern Region State Leadership Team representative, acting as the voice for all state advisers in the Southern Region.

Robinson began his 47-year career as a marketing education teacher before serving in various administrative positions at Great Plains Technology Center, Tulsa Technology Center, Indian Capital Technology Center and Meridian Technology Center. He held many leadership roles in professional CTE organizations and was a member of many local, state and national boards and committees. He took pride in mentoring new educators throughout his career.

He joined ODCTE in 2001 as a field service coordinator before leaving in 2003 to be assistant principal at East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa, Arizona. He returned to ODCTE in 2006 as associate state director, retiring in 2016. He received the OkACTE Arch Alexander Award in 2013.

Staats worked in agricultural education for 50 years. He taught for 34 years before becoming state program administrator for agricultural education and state FFA adviser at ODCTE. He retired in 2020 and began teaching agricultural education at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

The 2024 class of inductees will increase the Hall of Fame membership to 92. The Hall of Fame, which is sponsored by the Oklahoma Foundation for Career and Technology Education, was founded in 1990.

Previous inductees include governors, college deans and professors, business and industry leaders, educators and CareerTech System faculty, staff and agency members.

For more information about the Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation, visit


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, 397 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 Feb 06, 2024
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