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Agricultural News

Career Tech 2015 Hall of Fame Class Includes Three Former Ag Education Instructors

Mon, 12 Oct 2015 07:14:08 CDT

Career Tech 2015 Hall of Fame Class Includes Three Former Ag Education Instructors Five Oklahomans will be inducted into the 2015 Oklahoma Career and Technology Education Hall of Fame at a banquet Oct. 21 on Francis Tuttle Technology Center's Rockwell Campus.

This year's inductees are Phil Berkenbile, retired state director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and former agricultural education instructor for Morrison Public Schools; Dean Denton, retired business and information technology instructor for Broken Arrow High School and National Board Certified Instructor; Dale DeWitt, former member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and retired agricultural education instructor from Braman Public Schools; Bea Paul, former job developer at Autry Technology Center and former family and consumer sciences instructor at Chisholm High School in Enid; and Gregory Pierce, former superintendent of Pontotoc Technology Center in Ada and former coordinator of Curriculum and Instructional Materials at ODCTE in Stillwater. Pierce began his educational career as an agricultural education instructor at Tishomingo High School.

Three of the five lay claim to teaching ag in local high schools. That includes Phil Berkenbile. He became the agricultural education instructor and FFA adviser at Morrison Public Schools in 1972 and for the next 16 years, built a local, state and nationally recognized FFA chapter and Young Farmer program. It was a national gold emblem chapter and Building Our American Communities and national safety award winner and developed three state FFA officers and numerous competitive event winners and degree recipients.

"He had a passion with the young people that you don't find in everybody," said Brian Campbell, one of his former students who is now the agricultural education instructor in Depew.

Another of the inductees that was a long time ag teacher is Dale DeWitt. His first job was working as a hog buyer at John Morrell Packing Co. in Arkansas City, Kan. Shortly after that, he began teaching agricultural education at Helena-Goltry Schools, where he worked for three years. He then moved back to Braman, where he taught agricultural education and farmed for 27 years.
Through the years, DeWitt's FFA chapters were competitive in livestock judging, livestock showing, public speaking and leadership activities.

"He's given a life of service, which has taken a lot of sacrifice and hard work," said former student Mindi Clark. She is now assistant professor of agricultural education at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

The third ag teacher in the 2015 class is Gregory Pierce. Pierce entered the CareerTech System through FFA, one of seven CareerTech student organizations. He was active in FFA at Velma-Alma High School before going to Oklahoma State University, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural education and an administration certificate.

He taught agricultural education at Tishomingo Public Schools and in 1978 moved to the Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education, now the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, as agriculture curriculum specialist.

Inductee Bea Paul also has strong rural ties- with her early career journey tied to 4-H and Cooperative Extension. Paul's CareerTech career began because of 4-H, which served as a catalyst for her to attend Oklahoma State University. She earned a bachelor's degree in the Home Economics College (now the College of Human Sciences) and became an Oklahoma Cooperative Extension agent before accepting a home economics teaching position at Chisholm High School.

She taught for 15 years at Chisholm High School, where she was also the adviser for the CareerTech student organization FCCLA, 4-H leader and Honor Society sponsor.

The 2015 class of inductees will increase the Hall of Fame membership to 75. The Hall of Fame, which is sponsored by the Oklahoman Foundation for Career and Technology Education, was founded in 1990.

"Oklahoma CareerTech Hall of Fame honorees have contributed significantly to the success of the CareerTech System," said Marcie Mack, CareerTech state director. "Each recipient has advanced the mission of CareerTech in unique and extraordinary ways. Their commitment to students, businesses and the lives of Oklahomans is appreciated and honored."

Previous inductees include governors, college deans and professors, business and industry leaders, educators and CareerTech System faculty, staff and agency members.



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