The Fellows Program through ACTEAZ has provided numerous opportunities for growth in leadership and advocacy. I have always been a proponent of CTE and this program has helped me formulate action plans and strategies to ensure all stakeholders in my district also understand the value of CTE. Throughout my two years in the program I have been exposed to more professional development than most educators get in their careers. The program is constantly offering opportunities for me to learn and grow and become a better counselor and advocate for CTE and education issues. My confidence has soared since joining the program because I am properly educated on the data, history and trends regarding CTE. My experiences at conferences and conversations with colleagues from all over the state and country helped me solidify my focus of CTE advocacy at the state and national levels – Bridging the Gap Between CTE and School Counselors. This area was my focus in the second year of the Fellows Program and I will continue with my efforts during my third and final year and beyond. The Fellows Program filled a void I had in my professional life – meeting and working with people outside of my school site who are not satisfied with the status quo and wanted to do something about it. The Fellows Program has helped shape me into a better counselor, leader and advocate.
The Fellows Program allows me to live by my philosophy and it embodies who I am. My philosophy is based on Passion, Patience and Perseverance. The ACTEAZ fellowship has allowed me to grow, learn and advocate as a person and teacher. It has given me the opportunity to Passionately advocate for CTE. It has taught me to be Patient in my decision making. But most of all it has shown me to Persevere and never give up. The mentor-ship that the fellowship offers allows me to build my skills and encompasses all the ideologies I believe in. For this reason, I challenge anyone to grow as a leader and join the ACTE Fellows Program.
As an educator, you are given many opportunities to grow as a teacher and as a professional. I have taken advantage of many of these within my own professional organization, the Arizona Agriculture Teachers Association. However, I felt it was time to spread my wings and become involved at the next level. That is when I discovered the ACTE AZ Fellows Program. Through my three year commitment to this program, I have been able to look at education and specifically Career and Technical Education (CTE) at a whole new level.
As an ACTE AZ Fellow, I have had the privileged to work with a variety of professionals that have shown such sincere dedication and passion for CTE that I have been given a new found focus for myself. I have discovered that as a local high school teacher I can make a difference in my school, community, state and even at the national level.
As a Fellow, I have been able to attend State and National Conferences. At these events, I have gained insight into our educational system and how we are impacted by internal and external decisions. I now have a better understanding of my role within the system and how to communicate and make connections with those that will have a positive impact on the lives of my students.
The most significant experience I have had as a Fellow is to attend the National Policy Seminar in Washington D.C. I am a firm believer in “learning by doing.” During the Policy Seminar, participants are given vital information and training in order to advocate for CTE with our legislatures. Having the opportunity to meet with legislatures and share the success stories of my students and local programs has had a huge impact on my desire to continue working towards a better future for all of Arizona Education.
All teachers have a passionate and invaluable story to tell and it is vital that we share our story with others. Only through continued advocacy can we ensure that our message is heard and understood throughout our state. Our students deserve the best education available to them and Career and Technical Education provides the best pathway to life-long success.