2018 Award Winners

ACTE Administrator of the Year

Jeremy Cowley, Director, Omaha Career Center

Jeremy Cowley is the Program Director of the Omaha Public Schools Career Center. Mr. Cowley oversees 13 Career and Technical Education programs including over 600 students. Their mission is to connect today’s students with tomorrow’s careers by integrating real-world education with relevant experiences that engage students, community, and industry. Through this work, industry advisory boards were created or revitalized in all program areas. Cowley implemented industry shadow days twice per year for teaching staff. Shadow days allow teachers to identify new members for the advisory board as well as keep their skills sharpened for the classroom. Internship opportunities for students and staff have also been developed through these partnerships. Eighty-nine percent of Career Center students are placed in a job, attend college, or join the military.

One unique partnership that Cowley brought to the Career Center is through Gallup Strengths Center to identify entrepreneurial strengths in students. Students learn about their individual entrepreneurial strengths as well as participate in an internship. Over 300 Career Center students participate in the profile annually with seven students participating in the internship in the first year.

Cowley is involved in the advisory boards, numerous trade boards, and the Omaha chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry serving on the workforce development committee. Within OPS, he has served as the chairperson for the learning community. This year he fostered a relationship with Nebraska Loves Public Schools to help promote CTE month statewide. He currently serves as the president of the Association for Career and Technology Education of Nebraska.

ACTEN Family and Consumer Sciences Division Teacher of the Year

 Anne Schmall, FCS Instructor, Scottsbluff Public Schools

Anne Schmall has contributed to implementing high quality-CTE programs both in the Scottsbluff Public Schools (SPS) system and Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) programs throughout the State of Nebraska. When Anne started at Bluffs Middle School ten years ago, she recognized the importance of increasing basic career exploration and career readiness skills in her students. She then revamped her 8th-grade course to support this need. Five years ago the middle school administration decided that this career course was essential for student success, and made it a required course for all 8th-grade students.

Anne has served on four standard and curriculum writing teams in Nebraska for Human Sciences & Education and Middle School FCS. The Middle School standards and curriculum team completely revised the course/standard offerings to ensure a better sequence of content and that they meet the needs of the diverse middle-level FCS programs in Nebraska.

As the adviser for the Scottsbluff High School Family Career and Community Leaders of America, Anne strives to have her students make the connection between their CTE courses, the CTSO’s programs, and the world around them. In her three years as the adviser, Anne’s students have competed at the district, state, and national level with their STAR projects.

Anne has served in many leadership roles including president of both ACTEN and FCSTN. In 2015, Anne presented at the CareerTech VISION conference in New Orleans. Anne’s leadership involvement extends to her work with the Nebraska Department of Education as well. She was involved in the pilot of two different CTE Curriculums for Nebraska; Habitudes for Career Ready Students, and Engage! Career Exploration and Readiness.

ACTE Engineering and Technology Division Teacher of the Year

Adam Whitmore, Skilled and Technical Sciences Instructor, Columbus Public schools

Adam Whitmore serves as the Skilled and Technical Sciences Instructor and SkillsUSA adviser at Columbus High School. Adam possesses many unique teaching qualities. Those qualities include being prepared, holding high expectations, being creative, cultivating a sense of belonging, being fair, displaying a personal touch, being compassionate, having a sense of humor, and respecting students. He is student centered and demonstrates genuineness toward his students. He is resourceful and inventive. Through his “Whitemore Challenges” the students apply problem solving skills in the context of real work applications. This has allowed students to develop a competitive edge and skill proficiency aligned with local industry needs. Mr. Whitmore keeps up-to-date with current trends in industry by attending local, state, and national CTE events. He has attended the Educator in Industry Day, the Nebraska Department of Education Fall STS In-Service, Nebraska: Think Advanced Manufacturing event, and ACTE CareerTech VISION.

A parent writes, “When asking our son who he felt inspired him to pursue his major in college, he immediately said, Mr. Whitmore. According to our son, Mr. Whitmore is the smartest guy he knows about anything computers or electronics. Our son appreciated the fact that Mr. Whitmore is serious about the subject, mentors students without trying to be their friend, and holds them to a high standard while helping them attain their goal.”

ACTEN Agricultural Education Division Teacher of the Year and ACTE Teacher of the Year

Kristine Spath, Agricultural Education Teacher, Waverly High School

Kristine Spath is the Agricultural Education Teacher and FFA Advisor at Waverly High School. Kristine has obtained certification in the Curriculum in Agriculture Science Education (CASE) allowing her to teach five courses using the CASE curriculum. This curriculum has been nationally developed aligning with the Next Generation Science standards. Kris manages eight programs of study for her students including plant science, animal science, agribusiness and natural resources. All curriculum taught aligns with the Career and Technical Education Career Readiness Standards and students are asked regularly to reflect on their performance in areas such as problem solving, teamwork, and communication.

Her administrator says “due to Mrs. Spath’s efforts, she has had a significant impact on our students, our community and the Agricultural Education in the state of Nebraska. Every year, Kris is searching for professional development opportunities, writing grants, or networking with educators across our state, in order to expand her programs, provide more relevant experiences for students, to grow as a professional, and to do her part in improving Agricultural Education in Nebraska. Most recently, due to her grant writing, the FFA has created a learning garden at our high school, made renovations to the greenhouse, and created more access to technology in the classroom. She is a learner with a burning passion for agriculture education, and one who cares deeply for the education of students and their interests.”

ACTEN New Teacher of the Year

 Carmen Hall, Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher, Omaha Bryan High School

Carmen Hall is in her fourth year as a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher. During those four years, she has had to build her own curriculum, serve as a FCCLA adviser, and at her current school she is chartering a new FCCLA Chapter. Carmen’s teaching philosophy includes engaging students, building relationships with students, as well as providing students with a number of opportunities to grow as individuals, to learn, and to reflect. During her four short years of teaching, she feels her proudest moment was hosting a preschool for her Child Development course. Her students worked with young children, taught them appropriate age-level lessons, hands on activities, and planned snacks for the children.

Carmen is a member of ACTEN, ACTE, Family and Consumer Science Teachers of Nebraska (FCSTN), and the Nebraska Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NAFCS). She joined these organizations not only to gain a network of mentors, but also professional experience, leadership opportunities, and the chance to advocate for career and technical education. Carmen currently serves as the treasurer for FCSTN and is the FCS division representative for ACTEN.

ACTEN Member of the Year

 DeLayne Havlovic, Omaha Public Schools

DeLayne Havlovic currently serves as the Curriculum Supervisor in the Omaha Public Schools for business, marketing, information technology, and health sciences.   He is responsible for district wide implementation and continual development of curriculum and career pathways for these disciplines.  He provides instructional coaching, curriculum support, evaluation, and professional development for 125 BMIT and Health Sciences teachers.  He assists with staff development, coordination of Perkins funds, chairs many committees, supports CSO advisers, and the list goes on.  

DeLayne is a member of a variety of professional organizations.  In these professional organizations he has served in many leadership positions. He has been the president-elect, president, and past president of ACTEN, and currently serves as the treasurer. He has attended the national ACTE conference, CareerTech VISION, and the National Policy Seminar. DeLayne has received the ACTE Administrator of the Year Award both on the state and regional level.

DeLayne has served on a variety of committees at the national level including, but not limited to the program director for the National Business Education Association (NBEA) Convention, the chair of the Legislative and Advocacy Committee for NBEA, and he currently serves as the Mountain-Plains Business Education Association Representative to the NBEA Executive Board.  DeLayne has attended and served as a presenter for numerous conventions.  As a fellow board member writes, “DeLayne epitomizes quality leadership and dedicated service in his daily responsibilities within Omaha Public Schools and especially in his service to ACTEN and career education in Nebraska.”

ACTE Region V Postsecondary Teacher of the Year

 Kathy McCune, Business Instructor, Mid-Plains Community College, North Platte

Kathleen McCune is a business instructor at Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte. Kathleen works closely with others in the Business Division of MPCC to provide courses, degrees, diplomas, and certificates in Business Office Technology. She is involved in selecting, mentoring, and evaluating other faculty that teach in the career and technical fields.   To encourage advanced education in career and technical fields, Kathleen conducts presentations four times a year to the North Platte High School Health Career Academy. To further support and discover emerging issues in business and economic education, Kathleen represents the Business Education Division of the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE/BE) on the Policies Commission for Business and Economic Education (PCBEE).   Kathleen has provided articles for NSBEA Today, ACTEN—the Communique, the FBLA Pledge, and recently authored ”Chapter 11: Business Education Curriculum and Assessment Encountered In The Post-Secondary/Community College Setting” for the 2017 NBEA Yearbook.

Kathleen has served as a District Representative, President and Past-President of the Nebraska Business Education Association. She was name the NSBEA Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year 2013. She is a member of the National Business Education Association and the Mountain-Plains Business Education Association and was named MPBEA Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year 2014. She is a professional member of Phi Beta Lambda, the past Vice-President of the ARBE-DPE, and is currently a reviewer for the Journal of Research in Business Education.

Kathleen’s involvement in the classroom and, professionally, outside the classroom prepares high-quality CTE programs. As a career and technical educator, Kathleen’s greatest joy is to see former students move from college into careers. To witness students begin a CTE program with few skills and little self-confidence become talented, confident employees is a wonderful, gratifying teaching experience. Students that become successful and skilled employees make us all better

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