The Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education (OkACTE) named Justin Nisbett, Precision Metal Fabrication Instructor at Meridian Technology Center, the New Teacher of the Year for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education system.
Each year OkACTE recognizes leaders in the career and technology education field during the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology (CareerTech) Education’s annual Summer Conference. As the nominee for the Trade and Industry division, Nisbett competed against other divisional new CareerTech teachers from across the state to win the title. Nisbett will compete against other winners at CareerTech VISION, the national conference for the Association of Career and Technology Education.
Nisbett began his career teaching short-term welding classes at Canadian Valley Technology Center, where he was previously a high school student. He transitioned to a full-time instructor when he began his employment at Meridian in 2012. Since then, Nisbett has initiated several community service projects for his students including participating in the Stillwater Area United Way Day of Caring and partnering with News9 to outfit the station’s tornado chase vehicle with custom fabrications. He was also instrumental in revamping Meridian’s short-term welding course to implement an open entry format, resulting in a 50 percent growth in enrollment over the past three years. Nisbett has also partnered with Meridian’s Business and Industry Services division to provide customized training for local companies.
Three other staff members from Meridian Technology Center were also recognized during the conference.
DeAnna Little, Director of Instruction for Trade and Industry Programs, was nominated for ACTE Administrator of the Year. Little began her CareerTech work in 1994 as an instructor. She served as chair of the Information Technology division for 15 years prior to becoming a Director of Instruction at Meridian where she works closely with 11 teachers and 300 students on a daily basis. Little has previously served as president of the BITE division, and she has served on numerous state and national committees. She will complete her Ph.D. in Workforce Education from Oklahoma State University in May 2016.
Mary Barton, a newly retired Business Technology instructor, was honored as ACTE Teacher of the Year for the Business Education (BITE) division. Barton was one of the state’s first National Board Certified teachers. Throughout her career she was an active member in OkACTE, held various officer positions within her division, and attended the National Policy Seminar twice to advocate for CareerTech. Her 20-plus years in the classroom took her to Central Tech in Drumright and Cushing High School before joining Meridian in 2013.
Information Technology instructor Daniel Devers was honored as the ACTE New Teacher of the Year for the BITE division. Devers, a graduate of the Information Technology program at Meridian, began teaching at Tech in 2012. He quickly became active in OkACTE and in 2013 was selected as divisional secretary, a position he continues to hold. He serves on a variety of committees and advisory boards within the career and technology education community including the BITE division policy committee, the BITE advisory committee and the Cyber Security Education Consortium, which shapes cyber security courses for information technology programs throughout the state.
“We are very proud of Justin and the other Meridian Technology Center staff members who were recognized for their accomplishments in the classroom and nominated for OkACTE awards at Summer Conference,” said Superintendent/CEO Doug Major. “Oklahoma is recognized as a leader in career and technical education across the country. These individuals are examples of the best of the best in our system. The passion and commitment of everyone at Meridian Technology Center enables us to provide customized training and education to individuals, industries and communities throughout our district.”