LEWISTON – Peter Barlow, a metal trades instructor at the Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico, was named Maine’s newest Career and Technical Educator of the Year Friday in front of more than 400 of his colleagues. Barlow has taught precision machining and welding programs at Region 9 since 1991.
Educators gathered Friday to share best practices from around Maine at the third annual CTE conference at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center.
In announcing Barlow as the winner, Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen extended greetings from Gov. Paul LePage, who has made CTE a key element of the Administration’s education plan. He has consistently said students must have multiple options, and that while four-year college is right for many students, a technical education, including post-secondary skills training, should be seen as a viable path, and not as a “second class” option.
“Students in Mr. Barlow’s classes know that with effective training and education, they will graduate with the skills they need to pursue successful careers,” Gov. LePage said. “Congratulations to Mr. Barlow and to the Region 9 CTE school for your excellent work.”
In addition to teaching at the high school level, Barlow offers instruction to Region 9 adult education students in the evenings and has worked with a middle school industrial arts teacher to show students how CTE can enhance their schooling experience. Twenty-two of Barlow’s students have received the Maine Machine Products Company’s Quality and Precision with Pride Scholarship. Twelve of the recipients are currently working for Maine Machine, which specializes in producing precision machining parts.
During the conference, the Maine Administrators of Career and Technical Education offered more than a dozen breakout sessions. Teachers attended sessions on topics ranging from determining students’ learning styles to developing meaningful writing prompts for CTE classrooms. In one workshop, the director of Bangor’s United Technologies Center – the facility largely responsible for Hermon High School’s recent launch of the Bridge Year high school program – explained how to design a partnership between CTE, the local high school, a community college and Maine’s university system to build a program that will allow students to attain both their high school diploma and an associate’s degree in five years, a model proposed by Gov. LePage before he entered office.
Maine has 27 secondary CTE centers and regions that provide students with industry-based, 21st-century career and occupational skills and knowledge, as well as pathways to post-secondary education and training.
The LePage Administration has improved access to CTE programs for all students and the transferability of credits to higher education. CTE is an integral part of Gov. LePage’s ABC plan for education and the Department’s strategic plan.