MICHIGAN CITY | The Indiana Association of Career and Technical Education Districts has named LaPorte County Career and Technical Education Director Audra Peterson the recipient of its Tom Paul Outstanding Director Award for 2014.
The award, given each year to Indiana’s top CTE Director, was presented to Peterson on June 10 during IACTD’s annual conference in Nashville, Indiana.
Recipients of the Tom Paul memorial award are exemplary CTE administrators who are highly respected by their peers for their knowledge, leadership, and commitment to career and technical education. Peterson was selected for the honor by her colleagues, based on her efforts to improve career and technical education in La Porte County.
“I am humbled and honored to have been recognized with this award,” said Peterson. “I have been blessed with a great staff and broad community support that is making a real difference for students in our county.”
Peterson began her career as a teacher of Dental Health, and she previously served as CTE Director in Hammond. She became director of career and technical education in LaPorte County in February 2012. Since then, she has transformed and expanded CTE programs offered at the A. K. Smith Career Center in Michigan City and at area high schools. She has worked with Ivy Tech, Purdue North Central, and Vincennes University to expand dual credit opportunities for students in a variety of disciplines and has established innovative partnerships with regional business and industry.
Under her leadership, new LaPorte County CTE programs have been established in Criminal Justice, Early Childhood, and Advanced Manufacturing, and a Health Careers Academy was expanded. Last summer, the Automotive Technology program received national accreditation, and in October, a partnership was formed with the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Council of Carpenters that provides direct entry into apprenticeships for students pursuing Construction Technology.
Next fall, an Energy Academy will be offered in partnership with NIPSCO, preparing students for high-demand jobs in the electronics, energy, and utility industries. The Energy Academy is based on a new curriculum pathway Peterson created, the first in Indiana. Other program offerings currently in development include Transportation/Distribution/Logistics, Fire Science and EMS, and Horticulture.
“Career and Technical Education is a priority at both the state and national levels,” Peterson said. “I believe LaPorte County is on the cutting edge of this trend, and we are preparing students for success in college and in high-wage, high demand-careers.”