|Donald Blake being introduced by Dr. Bill Blank.|
The audience included graduate students pursuing a master's degree in career in technical education (CTE) and doctoral students in career and workforce education, representing a diversity of backgrounds and settings in the field. For this group, having the opportunity to learn his teaching story would have been in itself worth attending. However, this was a rare occasion because Mr. Blake was selected this year as Pasco County Schools' Teacher of the Year, which had never been awarded to a CTE teacher. In addition, Mr. Blake was also selected as one of the five Finalists for the 2017 Florida Teacher of the Year award. But there's more.
Mr. Blake was coming back to his academic home as an alumni of the career and technical education program at USF where he graduated from about 30 years ago. To celebrate and recognize Mr. Blake's career and teaching award, Dr. Bill Blank, Professor Emeritus in Career and Workforce Education, was delighted to accept the invitation to introduce him at the gathering, and shared how motivated Mr. Blake was to join the teaching profession as an undergraduate student.
As he shared the lessons learned over his teaching tenure, Mr. Blake noted that the research on competency-based learning was one of the foundations he used to become a successful teacher in CTE. He also noted that, a foundation of trust between students and teacher and using CTE to make learning relevant, are essential elements for bridging rigorous teaching and learning in schools. His story was inspiring as he received a standing ovation from the career and workforce education program at USF.
Mr. Blake teaches electricity at Marchman Technical College (MTC) in Pasco County. The Electricity Program provides students with the knowledge and skills required for planning, installing, and maintaining residential and commercial electrical systems. Regional, state, and national awards earned at skills competitions, and a 100 percent employment placement rate are evidence of the program's success under Mr. Blake's leadership.
The Career and Workforce Education community at USF is proud of Mr. Blake's achievement and hopes his work is further recognized during the process for selecting the 2017 Florida Teacher of the Year.