Tony Fogleman, director of Career and Technical Education for Cleveland County Schools, was surprised with the title of Southwest Regional CTE Director of the Year from the North Carolina Association of Career Technical Education at its summer conference this year.
He and the five other regional winners will now be candidates for the state-level award. After candidates submit letters of support, write essays about CTE, and go through an interview process, a winner will be selected for North Carolina and will then move up to the national ACTE competition. Candidates must show accomplishments, innovations, and contributions to the CTE community.
Fogleman was nominated anonymously and then voted on by his peers, an honor he found humbling. He said the award was more of a recognition of CTE in Cleveland County and all the work that has been put into it.
"It's not just about me; it's about the teachers and all they've done in making successful, valid CTE programs for students," he said. "It's also a testament to the students' dedication and commitment to the programs."
As director, Fogleman oversees CTE programs at the middle and high schools and works with the teachers to make sure they have all the resources they need. He said CTE teachers, students, local businesses, and industries all benefit from the partnerships by helping meet labor demands and preparing students with the skills they need for employment.
"CTE is important for Cleveland County because it has a valuable impact on students in developing their skills as well as a desire to look at all kinds of career opportunities," he said. "With it, students can try new jobs that they hadn't thought of before."
Rhonda Benfield, the instructional management coordinator for CTE, said CTE opportunities for students have expanded under Fogleman's leadership. Adobe and Digital Media programs are now offered at schools, as well as state-of-the-art greenhouses for horticulture and barns for agriculture. Students can also now enjoy Mac computer labs equipped with up-to-date software thanks to Fogleman's dedication to the CTE mission.
She said he has been instrumental in establishing partnerships with the business community for CTE, which Fogleman said was due to a team effort from the school board, the Superintendent, the Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce, the county commissioners, the community college, and the Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership.
"Mr. Fogleman leads a staff of 70 people, and I can tell you that he supports and values each one of them. He is very receptive to their needs and ideas, and he works hard to make sure those things happen to improve and build CTE programs and curriculum," Benfield said. "He has a great connection with both teachers and students. He models high ethical standards, actively listens to his staff, and participates in their programs."
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