2020 Award Winners
Administrator of the Year: Dennis Franks – Pickaway Ross
Dennis Franks is the Superintendent of Pickaway Ross Joint Vocational School District. He has been a leader in the world of career-tech for more than three decades. From the classroom, to adult education, to secondary and even district leadership, Dennis has spent his career working in career-tech and making sure that students in Pickaway and Ross counties have the opportunities and advantages that come with career-technical education. From leadership in the district to leadership of OACTE, OACTS and the Governor's Board for Workforce Development, Dennis stands tall among the leaders in career-tech.
Teacher of the Year: Derek Fitzer – South-Western City Schools Career Academy
Derek Fitzer is the Mobile Applications Instructor at South-Western Career Academy. When the district was interested in beginning a new Mobile Applications program, Derek immediately came to mind as the instructor to begin and lead this new endeavor. He immersed himself in the program, making connections with the local College Credit Plus affiliation, and built one of the strongest programs in the district. He enthusiastically took on the challenge of learning the Swift Program Language and all the intricacies of App development. In its first year, 8 students were involved in the program, and it grew to 28 students in the second year. People who work with Derek describe him as kind, genuine, passionate, and warm. It is this warm demeanor, coupled with his passion for innovative teaching practices, that make Derek a critical component of his school and community.
Career Guidance: Corinne Magensky – Four Cities Compact
Corrine Magensky is the Pathway Compact Counselor at Four Cities Compact. She has revolutionized the outreach to future CTE students in Barberton, Wadsworth, Copley and Norton schools. Over the four years that she has been in her position, she has helped increase the number of students participating to over 2,000 this year, helped bring new programs to Four Cities Compact, and counseled students to help them achieve excellent placement post-graduation (95.9%). Corrine's creativity, counseling skills, and dedication to CTE and furthering students’ ability to graduate and have a meaningful and self-sufficient life are all part of why she is deserving of the Career Guidance Award.
New CTE Teacher: Rebecca McCowan – Great Oaks Career Campuses
Rebecca McCowan is the Great Oaks Satellite High School of Business Teacher at Princeton High School. She has been instrumental in helping to develop an exemplary business partnership for Princeton High School and its community. She and her students assist the superintendent in hosting four regular breakfast meetings throughout the school year. In just three years at Princeton, she has developed one of the largest DECA chapters in Ohio. She has also developed a closet of dress clothes for her students who are unable to purchase their own so they can wear professional apparel at competitions. Last summer, Rebecca held a summer leadership program for 12 Princeton students. The students worked to establish goals for the DECA chapter, many of which have been achieved this year. She has established her CTE program as a valued part of the Princeton High School community through the program's work in managing the school's spirit shop and numerous other areas of service to the community. Rebecca has made a meaningful impact in the lives of her students through patient and nurturing love, instruction, and care for them.
Outstanding Teacher in Community Service: Sara Plozay – Upper Valley CC
Sara Plozay is a Cosmetology Instructor and the SkillsUSA Advisor at Upper Valley Career Center. She is dedicated to both her students and her community, hosting several community service projects throughout the year. Those events include free haircuts at the Salvation Army as part of a Back to School Bash in Sidney, hosting a Princess Spa Day with her cosmetology students for children in the community, providing a Relaxation Day for teachers to de-stress before the holidays at Troy Elementary, haircuts for over 70 students at one of the Piqua elementary schools, Pedicures for Veterans - which has become an annual event, and so many more. Sara is dedicated to community service but more importantly, her passion teaches students its value and the mechanism for implementing a truly meaningful and beneficial project. In her words, "It gives them a deeper sense of empathy toward others. It helps them feel better about themselves, they become more aware of needs in the community, and it builds their interpersonal skills. Most importantly, it gives them a stronger sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. As a teacher, having my students participate in community service activities improves classroom performance, academic achievement, and creates a positive environment where students can grow."
Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year: Joy Shepherd – Apollo CC
Joy Shepherd is the Allied Health Instructor and Practicum
Coordinator at the Apollo Career Center. She has been a post-secondary teacher
at Apollo Career Center full-time since 2007. She is the Lead Faculty for
Apollo’s CAAHEP-accredited medical assisting program and Practicum Coordinator
for all of the Allied Health Programs in adult education. Having a passion for
adult education, she left the private sector in healthcare managing a
multi-physician pediatric practice to enter the classroom as a full-time
teacher. Since coming to Apollo, she has been instrumental in achieving and
maintaining programmatic accreditation, meeting program outcomes and benchmarks,
and strengthening Apollo’s ties to the community. Joy is the “go-to”
person for local area doctor’s offices and laboratories for helping them secure
competent allied health professionals throughout nine counties in Northwest
Ohio, in addition to securing the clinical placement of students. Additionally,
Apollo has been able to secure over $10,000 worth of donations of equipment and
supplies for our allied health programs this year alone because of her
consistency and level of professionalism.
Susan Schwalbauch is an Academic Specialist at Pickaway County ESC. She is an excellent example of how collaboration can benefit the world of career-tech. Susan was hired in 2012 through a partnership with the Pickaway County ESC to be an academic specialist for Pickaway-Ross CTC. Since that time, her role has grown and expanded to meet the demands of career-tech and she has become a critically important member of the PRCTC team. Recently, she has worked with the Ohio Apprenticeship Council to secure a process to develop pre-apprenticeships within PRCTC programming to create pathways to graduation for work-based learning students. She is a true ambassador for career-tech, wearing the hat of an ESC employee, who reaches out to community members and organizations to enable the district to achieve success in many areas.
Business Image Award: Bill Swan—Business Partner with Auburn CC
Bill Swan is the Human Resources Manager and Training Supervisor with Swagelok, a company which provides fluid system products. Bill has been a champion of Career and Technical Education, manufacturing, and for Auburn Career Center for the past nine years. He has helped provide high school and adult students with over 45 internships and jobs, he has been an advisory member for both the high school and adult machining program for nine years, he has attended every adult manufacturing graduation, every high school mock interview day, and countless other events, and has been instrumental in helping the manufacturing program grow into the best in the Lake and Geauga County area. Swagelok’s core values are customer focus, quality, integrity, respect for the individual and continuous improvement. Bill is the epitome of integrity and respect for the individual and he has genuine concern for student success. He brings compassion and a desire to really listen to what students want to do and helps them find personal success and enjoyment.
Outstanding School Board Members: Julie Wagner-Feasel—Delaware Area CC & Paul Stefanko—Auburn CC
Julie Wagner-Feasel serves as the Board of Education President for Delaware Area Career Center. She is entering her tenth year as a board member of the DACC and just completed her fifth consecutive year as President of the Board. During her tenure on the Board of Education, Julie has led the district through the implementation of new, cutting-edge programs such as Application Development, Engineering, and Bioscience. Her leadership and efforts have led to continuous growth in enrollment year over year. Her passion for CTE is evident in her daily interactions, her social media posts, and her lobbying efforts on behalf of DACC and CTE as a whole. Julie's service to DACC has played a large role in elevating the status of CTE within the community, among partner industries, and among associate districts.
Paul Stefanko has served as a Board Member for both the Chardon Local Schools and Auburn Career Center (ACC) for over 10 years. During that time, he has been a tremendous advocate for CTE programs and services and developing a strong program at ACC. Paul recognizes the value of developing a rigorous CTE program in promoting the economic development of the region, as well as providing additional opportunities for career readiness for students. This year, ACC achieved a historic high level of student enrollment in CTE programs. This is due, in part, to Paul's leadership on the ACC Board of Education and commitment to improving processes in the organization. Paul's work on two boards of education requires a tremendous commitment of personal time and energy, which he has shown over a number of years. He is clearly passionate about the role that CTE programming plays in helping students achieve at high levels.