The director of career and technical education at Battle Ground Public Schools was recently named the Administrator of the Year for region five by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).
Cindy Arnold is now in the running for the National Administrator of the Year award at the 2022 ACTE Excellence Awards in November.
“(ACTE) is in 17 states, which includes Guam, so it was honoring,” Arnold said. “I went to the conference because I thought if I was going to get the award, I’d rather get it in person. The conference was really good and it was great to be called up and get the award there.”
The first award Arnold received from the organization was the ACTE Administrator of the Year award for Southwest Washington, which then put her in the pool for the ACTE Administrator of the Year award for Washington state, which she received last August. That award put her in the pool for the region five award she recently received, which puts her in the running for the National Administrator of the Year award.
As the director of career and technical education, Arnold oversees courses like business, marketing, welding, woodworking, graphic art, and video game design. She said Battle Ground’s program has a total of 70 employees she oversees, which includes 50 teachers.
“(As director) you want to make sure that you’re providing students with skills to go into the workforce,” she said. “Whether students go onto college or directly into the workforce, CTE prepares them for future careers.”
Arnold said students start out with an introductory class in a particular field and then have the option to take more advanced courses, which can help them get a job or attend college straight out of high school.
She said she acquired her position after being a business education teacher for 14 years. She then became the assistant principal at Prairie High School, and later was the principal of Captain Strong Primary School in Battle Ground. Arnold has been the director of CTE for the past eight years.
“Even when I was a principal, I still used concepts of current technical education working with younger kids such as teaching them leadership skills,” she said. “Once you teach students leadership skills, it helps them get grounded and do things on their own. They’re not being pushed, but they’re doing it because they want to do it.”
As director, Arnold said she not only works with teachers and staff, but she also writes grants and has to work with the state to ensure the program is following the rules and guidelines. She also ensures all of the staff are correctly certified, since many of the teachers come from various industries like engineering or nursing.
“If you’re teaching kids current job skills, teachers have to remain current in order to do that. As a CTE director, you also try to ensure teachers get the continued staff development that they need to keep current and be able to teach those current skills to kids,” Arnold said.
As for the chance at the upcoming national award, Arnold said she doesn’t hold any expectations for securing it. Instead, she’s just honored with what she has accomplished so far.
“I didn’t have any expectations going into region five, but it was a wonderful surprise, and I’m just really thrilled to be in the pool for the national award,” she said.
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