CTE instructors are the ‘Dinwiddie Difference’

By: Adrienne Wallace | Email: Click Here
Posted: January 2, 2020 | 1:45 p.m. 

DINWIDDIE – Instructors within the Career Technology Education program are making a difference in the lives of young people, and if you want to know how just ask the students participating.

During December’s regular school board meeting Carly Woolfolk, Director of Secondary Education & CTE, and Dawn Cater, Instructional Specialist, Career Readiness, were recognized for their part in improving the education process for Dinwiddie students.

High school senior Indigo Peterson praised the two for their work and the programs that she has benefitted from as she continues to learn about career and technical opportunities that will help her today and in the future.

“What makes them so special is the passion they have for the kids. You can see they won’t give up on a child in school. They can see the drive that they have in them and they keep pushing until the kids can see that in themselves,” Peterson said about the two instructors. 

She said she has learned interview skills and even had a chance to meet people in the community that she didn’t know before.

Each month the divisions honors an individual or group as part of the Dinwiddie Difference program.

During the meeting, a short video depicted the things Cater and Woolfolk are doing.

It began with Laurel Bishop, Agriculture Teacher and FFA sponsor, explaining how the two are making a difference 

Woolfolk oversees and manages the Secondary Education and Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs for Dinwiddie County Public Schools. She supervises all 6 through 12 curriculum development and implementation, local assessment development, textbook and resource selection, and remediation/enrichment activities for both the middle and high school instructional programs.  

According to school officials, Woolfolk also oversees all courses and programs related to Career and Technical Education and Work-Based Learning programming for grades 6-12.  Woolfolk represents the division at John Tyler Community College for Partnership to Ensure Educational Reform and other regional career and technical forums and is a member of the Crater Regional Workforce Development.

Cater, who is the Instructional Specialist for Career Readiness, works closely with Woolfolk to ensure WBL opportunities and experiences are afforded to students in grades 6 through 12. 

Chief Cater also supervises career exploration activities such as Industry Day, Job Shadowing and student internship opportunities.

“They make such a difference in our school because of the programs they are providing for our students opportunities to get them workforce ready when they leave high school,” Bishop said noting that through Cater and Woolfolk’s work the school provides new and innovative programs that help meet new and “ever changing graduation requirements” set by the state.

That includes giving them work experience through a staff teen program where students can serve as aids and also allows them class credit for the work they do outside of school.

The program has incorporated chances for students to learn about many different jobs through field trips to companies, colleges and the annual Industrial Day where, school leaders say businesses are lining up to be represented.

“Students not only learn about different job opportunities some of them have job offers before they leave,” Christie Clarke, Director of School & Community Relations, said.

The video clip also showed a visit to the Commonwealth’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing for a manufacturing day which Cater explained gave the students a chance to see what jobs are available from “computer science, welding possibly and other aspects that make up a company.”

Woolfolk says she’s learned a lot in her career about what is important and that includes the people she works with and their commitment to students.

“Few things in my career that I discovered leads to happiness. Dinwiddie County is home for me and working with people who work with the same goals who are able to accomplish together are the biggest part of  my life,” she reflected. “I am surrounded by wonderful people who share the desire and willingness to make a difference in the lives of students and bring opportunities to life.”

Copyright 2020 by Womack Publishing
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