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Tickets on sale for Oklahoma CareerTech Hall of Fame banquet

Monday, June 17, 2024

The Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation has opened ticket sales for its Hall of Fame banquet in October, when the foundation will honor six inductees.

This year’s Oklahoma Career and Technology Education Hall of Fame inductees are Tom Friedemann, Randy Gilbert, Velta Reed-Johnston, Denise Morris, Joe Robinson and Jack Staats. Banquet tickets and sponsorships are available at

“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 began his 49-year career and technology education career as a marketing education teacher at Putnam City West High School, where he led the DECA chapter to state Chapter of the Year titles two years in a row. He joined Oklahoma CareerTech -- then the Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education -- in 1974 as a curriculum specialist.

Friedemann went on to serve in the state agency as assistant state supervisor for distributive education, state DECA adviser, assistant state coordinator for technology centers and assistant state director, with a brief interruption when he worked in administration at Great Plains Technology Center in Lawton. Ten technology centers were established under his direction at ODCTE.

He became chief of state at Francis Tuttle Technology Center in 1997 and retired as superintendent 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. He is also co-owner of Crossing Hearts Ranch, an agritourism venue.

He also serves on the Oklahoma Youth Expo board of directors and is past chairman of the Oklahoma FFA Foundation. He is a lifetime member of the FFA Alumni Association and has received the Oklahoma FFA VIP Award. He is also a recipient of the Honorary American, State and Chapter FFA Degree.

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

Reed-Johnston 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 Oklahoma CareerTech system’s first female superintendent when she joined Western Technology Center; she retired in 1997 as Pioneer Technology Center superintendent.

Reed-Johnston received the National Educator of the Year in Vocational Technical Education and the Francis Tuttle Career Excellence Award.

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, beginning her teaching career at Helena-Goltry High School and finishing at her alma mater, Chisholm High School.

During her teaching career, she was named Teacher of the Year at both Helena-Goltry and Chisholm high schools, OkACTE Outstanding New Teacher and FCCLA Master Adviser.

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.

Since retiring, she has served as an FCCLA competitive events evaluator and has collaborated to write two new competitions. She has also substituted at Autry Technology Center and Chisholm High School.

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.

Robinson served as ACTE Region IV vice president and a member of the ACTE national board of directors from 1994 to 1997.

Staats worked in agricultural education for 50 years. He taught for 34 years, beginning his career at Freedom High School. He also taught in Buffalo before helping start a two-teacher ag ed program at Alva High School, where he taught for 30 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.

Staats proudest achievements were helping create or promoting programs such as Blue Coats to White Coats with the OSU medical school, AET recordkeeping system, FFA affiliated membership, national proficiency award participation and agriscience research participation.

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 Jun 17, 2024
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