Top Educators in Career and Technical Education Recognized with Top Tech Awards



Valders High teacher Jim Evans accepts his Top Tech Award from Lakeshore Technical College at the Lakeshore Culinary Institute in Sheboygan.



Lakeshore Technical College presented their  3rd annual Top Tech Awards to recognize the top influencers in career and technical education in Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties.  The five awards were presented at a reception at the Lakeshore Culinary Institute on February 4th.

February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. More than 87,000 of Wisconsin's high school students are taking CTE courses, which is over two thirds of Wisconsin's high school population. Areas of study stretch across a variety of disciplines, such as health occupations, manufacturing, technology and engineering, agriculture, and business. By using academic and career plans, students are able to align their coursework to their career or college aspirations.

"CTE Month highlights innovative, school-to-work programs and career opportunities for high school students who attend technical college for short-term training or a two-year degree," says Kelli Grasse, LTC Career and Technical Education Manager. "Through dual enrollment programs like Transcripted Credit and Youth Apprenticeship, Wisconsin's technical colleges, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and local businesses have partnered to expand CTE opportunities for students to allow high school students to work in paid positions where they can earn high school credits, industry certifications, and valuable work experience."

Educators from Manitowoc County were recognized with two of the awards.

Jim Evans, Science Teacher at Valders High School, was recognized for his efforts in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) program. FIRST is a highly creative, collaborative and competitive international robotics competition is a focus of Evans and his students year-round as he and many students meet often to solve mathematical and scientific problems to help become prepared for the next robotics season.  

Evans works with students from Chilton, Kiel, Brillion, Reedsville, Manitowoc, and Mishicot to form their FIRST teams, providing them the opportunity to focus on math, engineering, science, and technology outside of the classroom. Evans works with many companies to help sponsor students and recruits scientists and engineers from companies to work as mentors to the FIRST students, often resulting in students earning internships and positions within these companies. 

"I tell my kids all the time that nobody will pay you for what you know but they will pay you for what you can do," said Evans. "Problem solving is what you will get paid for and FIRST is all about problem solving."

The other Top Tech Award Winner was presented to Mishicot High School, Agriculture teacher, Jamie Propson. 

Propson was recognized for her leadership in the Future Farmers of America organization and teaching her students about agriculture-related careers.  In just two years, she has increased the FFA organizational membership from 38 to 96 members. 

Propson also teaches agriculture science classes at Lakeshore Technical College as an adjunct teacher and local high schools that do not have an Ag-Science Department have reached out to her to educate their students that are participating in the Youth Apprenticeship program.  

During the past year, Propson has worked closely with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to cross-walk two of her agriculture-science courses within her department.  These cross-walking agreements allow students to receive science credits from the state. She also requires all of her students to participate in a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) which allows them to participate in real-life experiences that promotes their agricultural knowledge.  

"What drives to me to teach career and technical education every day are the students," said Propson. "Being involved in career and technical education allows me to teach kids relevant, hands-on education." 

A panel of students also shared their stories of success of dual credit learning through career and technical education.   Career and Technical Education prepares people for specific trades, crafts and careers or a professional position in fields such as engineering, accounting, nursing, health, and agriculture as well as many other fields. 

About Lakeshore Technical College

Each year more than 10,000 people enroll in courses at Lakeshore Technical College. They rely on LTC for job preparation, to earn a degree, upgrade a specialized skill, train as an apprentice, or seek a high school equivalency. LTC faculty and staff meet students where they are in life and help them get one step closer to achieving their goals.<.p>

LTC, a nationally recognized technical college, was recently named a top 10 Bellwether Award finalist. The college was also ranked the #17 trade school in the nation by Forbes, the #3 two-year college in the nation for adult learners by Washington Monthly, #9 in the nation for two-year college educational outcomes by, and a top-150 two-year college for the fourth consecutive time by the Aspen Institute.

Close to 1,000 students graduate from LTC each year, and LTC’s associate degree graduates earn a median salary of $46,800 per year. In addition to the Cleveland campus, LTC serves students in Manitowoc and Sheboygan, and offers classes at four additional sites throughout the district. Visit LTC at

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