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Oklahoma association names Francis Tuttle instructor top CareerTech teacher

CareerTech Teacher of the Year Liz Dinkins is congratulated by Bob Funk Sr. of Express Employment Professionals at the 50th annual CareerTech Summer Conference. Funk presented a $10,000 award to Dinkins. [Photo by K.S. McNutt, The Oklahoman]

A graphic design instructor at Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City is the Oklahoma CareerTech Teacher of the Year and recipient of a $10,000 cash award.

Liz Dinkins was recognized Tuesday for excellence and dedication in career and technology education during the 50th annual Oklahoma CareerTech Summer Conference at the Cox Convention Center.

"I know so many amazing teachers in our state that I am so honored," said Dinkins, who is beginning her 13th year as an educator.

Teaching is "the most fun and amazing job," she said.

Her students have the option of taking a 600-hour program or a 960-hour program, which means she spends a lot of time with them.

"You get to watch them grow as individuals while they are learning their skills," Dinkins said. "You get to put them into Oklahoma's economy."

Graphic design students can go to work not just for one industry, but for any company, she said. Dinkins' former students work for a number of small businesses, for contractors at Tinker Air Force Base and for themselves.

"The demand is high now for those skilled people," said Bob Funk Sr., CEO and chairman of the board for Express Employment Professionals, which provided $20,000 in cash awards for CareerTech honorees.

Express Employment Professionals supports CareerTech's mission of putting Oklahomans to work, Funk said.

"CareerTech provides thousands of young people hope and encouragement that they will find that good opportunity," he said.

Dinkins was one of four employees recognized Tuesday by the Oklahoma Association for Career and Technology Education. This is the fourth year Express Employment Professionals gave each honoree a cash award.

Others recognized were:

Postsecondary Teacher of the Year — Tanya Vasso, coordinator of radiologic technology at Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater, $5,000.

New Teacher of the Year — Cameron Dale, agricultural education teacher at Elgin High School, $2,500.

Support Staff Member of the Year — Jessica Kriegh, business and industry services administrative professional at Northwest Technology Center in Alva, $2,500.

Approximately 3,700 CareerTech educators are participating in the conference, which continues Wednesday.

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