When Alisa Teffeteller began her career as a business educator, she taught students how to do shorthand, use various typewriters, and some computers.
Today, as Vocational and Technical Education Supervisor for Blount County Schools, she oversees 34 degree programs, ranging from agriculture to cybersecurity.
His peers recognized his leadership this summer as the recipient of the East Tennessee Award from the Trailblazer Award from the Tennessee Directors of Career and Technical Education.
“I am very, very humble and honored,” Teffeteller said.
The Trailblazer Award recognizes CTE directors with at least six years of experience who have “demonstrated extraordinary leadership in their home county and at the state or national level,” according to TDCTE.
When Teffeteller began his career, the term was vocational education, and in the mid-1990s, students had to choose between an academic or technical path.
Today, students graduate with one area of interest, typically three classes within a CTE program, but these programs are gateways to careers and continuing education.
Teffeteller also saw the programs come full circle, from co-op programs to graduation requirements becoming so strict that students couldn’t fit them into schedules and maintaining a renewed focus on learning opportunities in the workplace.
Career awareness begins in elementary schools and career exploration, including job shadowing, in colleges.
Each BCS degree program has an advisory board drawn from business and industry to ensure schools make sure graduates are prepared not only for a job, but a lifelong career.
Some programs have long been a part of Blount County schools, including Health Sciences and Welding. The most recent programs include mechatronics, criminal justice and computer networks.
Eagleton College and Career Academic launches athletic and human performance and supply chain management programs.
Teffeteller was among the last batch to graduate from Everett High School and went on to earn an Associate’s Degree from Walters State Community College and then a BA from the University of Tennessee.
She taught for 11 years in Knox and Blount County schools before moving into administration.
She is also a role model for students as a lifelong learner. Teffeteller received her MA and Education Specialist degrees from Lincoln Memorial University, and in 2010, she received her PhD in Educational Policy Analysis from East Tennessee State University.
Becoming Dr Teffeteller honored her parents, she said, because it was something they wanted her to do.