KEARNEY — Grand Island Public Schools Associate Superintendent Robin Dexter was named the Outstanding Career and Technical Education Administrative Leader during the annual Nebraska Excellence in Career Education Awards, which were presented last month in Kearney during the Conference Awards Luncheon.
Dexter was part of the GIPS administrative and teaching team that met with local business owners to help design the Career Pathways Institute on Adams Street. That work included visited similar programs in the Phoenix, Oklahoma City and Stillwater, Okla., areas, and then working with a consultant to help design a program to fit Grand Island’s needs.
The Grand Island school district now wants all students at Grand Island Senior High to think more about the eventual careers they want to pursue as adults. This effort is intended to help students even if they never take a single class on the Adams Street campus.
The 2017 conference was attended by approximately 600 Nebraska Career Education teachers, school counselors, administrators and CTE advocates.
The awards are co-sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Education and the Nebraska Career Education and Innovation Foundation. They recognize outstanding Nebraska Career Education programs and outstanding partnerships with businesses and individuals.
Wayne Hammond, president and executive director of Resiliency Initiatives, was one of the keynote speakers. He has primarily worked with high-risk youth and their families with a focus that goes through a wide range of mental health issues, including substance abuse.
Another keynote speaker was best-selling author Dave Weber, who has written about the need for much better work cultures and climates. According to the Gallup Organization, more than 80 percent of the people who leave or quit an organization do so because of negative relationships or issues in the workplace.
Conference topics included teaching elementary and middle school students about career-ready practices; effectively engaging diverse students in career and technical education; how to teach a wide variety of agricultural-related career and technical education classes to students; teaching personal finance to students; and how to teach create project-based learning opportunities.
Recipients were nominated by Nebraska career educators from across the state, and final selection was determined by an internal team composed of Nebraska Department of Education Career Education Specialists.
Other award recipients were:
— State Sen. Rick Kolowski, Elaine Stuhr Leadership and Advocacy Award
— Linda Black, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Distinguished Partner
— Meghan Bunger, Nebraska Medicine, Distinguished Partner
— Jim Walsh, Truck Center Companies, Distinguished Partner
— Hudl, Outstanding Business Partnership
— Wisner Pilger Public Schools, Outstanding Middle School Program
— Scottsbluff High School, Outstanding High School Program
— Millard Education Academy, Outstanding Rule 47 Career Academy