Outstanding Tennessee Educators Honored

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | 06:00pm

Nashville , TN- Three Tennessee Vocational-Technical Education VTE directors were recently honored for demonstrating outstanding innovation in their field. Lauderdale County VTE Director Sue Toles received the state Pioneer Award honoring exceptional directors with five years of experience or less. Rutherford County VTE Director Kay Nixon and Cleveland City VTE Director Steve Clariday both received Trailblazer Awards, which recognizes accomplished directors with six years of experience or more.

“Career and Technical education programs in Tennessee provide students rigor and relevance in their high school experience,” said Ralph Barnett, assistant commissioner for Vocational-Technical Education. “These types of programs are made possible by outstanding Career and Technical Education Directors such as those who were honored at the legislative breakfast.”

In three years as vocational director, Toles has helped build an active Advisory Council of community business leaders who assist with program decisions and input to increase student marketability in the workforce. Together, they will host the first ever county-wide career fair this spring.

Nixon has been a vocational director for eight years in Tennessee . This award adds to Nixon’s list of accolades including an Outstanding Secondary Program award in 2005 from the Tennessee Association for Career and Technical Education (CTE); an Exemplary Program Award in 2005 from the Tennessee School Board Association; an Outstanding Career and Technical Educator award in 2001 from the Tennessee Association for CTE.

Clariday has dedicated more than three decades to vocational-technical education. Under Clariday, enrollment in VTE courses has increased 200 percent, the number of vocational concentrators has risen from 16 to 168 and he has obtained $3 million in grants and donations. Clariday implemented a county-wide career fair for eighth graders and helped provide job shadowing and apprentice programs for students. He also organized an exchange program for teachers work in an industry and to allow industry representatives to visit classrooms.

“Kay Nixon, Sue Toles and Steve Clariday are wonderful examples of the type of leadership it takes to achieve excellence,” Barnett said.

For more information about Vocational-Technical Education, visit http://www.state.tn.us/education/vehompg.htm .

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