By Donnalie Stratton

AVA (the American Vocational Association and the forerunner of the current Association for Career and Technical Education) was formed in 1926 by the amalgamation of two parent organizations — National Society for Vocational Education (founded in 1906) and the Vocational Education Association of the Mid-West (organized in 1914). The primary motivation for this merger was a desire for unified action in developing the national program of vocational education, which had been given an impetus by the passage of the federal Smith-Hughes Act of 1917.

From the time the Smith-Hughes Act was enacted, vocational education caught on in a hurry. By the time AVA came into existence, there were thousands of vocational teachers and more than 900,000 students in agriculture, home economics, and trade and industrial education.

The objectives of AVA were:

  • To assume and maintain active national leadership in the promotion of vocational education;
  • To render service to state or local communities in stabilizing and promoting vocational education;
  • To provide a national open forum for the discussion of all questions involved in vocational education; and
  • To unite all the vocational education interests of the country through membership representative of the entire country.

Within a month of AVA’s founding, nine state vocational education associations had affiliated, and in six months there were 27.

The first AVA convention was held in Louisville, and Kentucky also was chartered that year. The first president of KVA (the Kentucky Vocational Association and the forerunner of today’s Kentucky Association for Career and Technical Education) was G. Ivan Barnes, who represented Agriculture and served for two years. The second president, Ethel Lovell, represented Trade and Industrial Education. In 1934-36, Ms. Ata Lee, representing Home Economics, served as president. According to the records, all presidents served two years until 1948. Also, the rotation plan — Agriculture, Trade and Industrial, Home Economics — continued until 1960 when John Maguire, representing Distributive Education, was elected president.

KVA membership as of February 1, 1927, was 205 and ranked eighth in the association, which had a total membership of 3,632. States with a higher membership were California, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

At the national level, divisions were formed based on the federal legislation (i.e., agriculture education, commercial education, home economics education, industrial education, part-time schools, and vocational rehabilitation).

KVA followed this pattern; however, these areas were commonly called service areas (e.g., agriculture, home economics, and industrial education). Later service (program) areas included distributive education, health occupations, business and office, manpower, and special needs. There have been changes subsequently, such as manpower to employment and training.

In addition to the program areas, Kentucky also established KVA regions in 1965. These regions were represented by regional officers, and the regional president served on the KVA Board of Directors. Originally, thee were 10 regions throughout the state. With restructuring in recent years, these were expanded to 15. Regional meetings were held in conjunction with the Kentucky Education Association (KEA) fall district meetings. (Note:  The regions were eliminated by bylaw amendment in 2002.)

Annual meetings of the association have been held throughout the years. Most of the meetings were held in Louisville; however, in 1962 the meeting was held in Lexington. These meetings were held in conjunction with the annual meeting of KEA and were usually held at the Kentucky Hotel. There would be at least 250-300 in attendance.

Committee work has been a mainstay in carrying out the program of work.

KVA has been noted for recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions to the association. According to the Bylaws, a maximum of two individuals may be honored each year with the KVA Honorary Life Membership. Persons nominated do not have to be members of KVA. Current data indicates 42 individuals have been honored by the association.

Kentucky also has been noted for having many KVA life members. As far back as 1978, there were 106 active life members

Student organizations have been an integral part of vocational education since 1928 at the national level.

  • FFA — November 20, 1928
  • FBLA — February 3, 1942
  • FHA — June 11, 1945
  • DECA — April 19-19, 1947
  • AIASA — March 1965
  • HOSA — November 10-13, 1976

Since the name change to KACTE, the association maintained its commitment to student organizations, most notably in organizing Student Leadership Day in Frankfort, which offers student organization leaders and members a civics learning opportunity. KACTE also sponsors the annual CTE student Entrepreneurial Contest.

Since 2002, KACTE’s Annual Meeting was incorporated within the Annual Statewide Career and Technical Education Summer Program, and KACTE is the logistic manager for the event. The CTE Summer Program is the largest professional development opportunity for CTE administrators and teachers in Kentucky.

Using funds generated through the Summer Program, in 2009 KACTE created several programs to further CTE in Kentucky.

  • A student-teaching scholarship was established for pre-service teachers to assist with the cost of their first assignment.
  • A stipend program was created to assist middle school teachers in attending the Summer Program since they are not allowed to use Perkins Act funds for professional development.
  • The CTE student Entrepreneurial Contest was funded with these monies.
  • A Professional Development Fund was rejuvenated with guidelines allowing payment for one-time, non-budgeted learning programs presented by agencies or associations.
  • Finally, dollars were directed to support leadership initiatives, which eventually developed into the KACTE TALENTS (Teachers As Leaders — Empowering New Thinking Skills) Leadership Academy. The Academy debuted in 2012-13.

KACTE maintains an active public awareness and legislative advocacy program. Its presence on behalf of CTE is known both in Washington and Frankfort. In 2010, KACTE was challenged to develop a definition of career readiness. Two-thirds of the KACTE recommendation was adopted by the Kentucky State Board of Education and used as part of the state’s College and Career Readiness Accountability System. Several legislative initiatives supported by KACTE passed the Kentucky General Assembly and were signed by the governor. The KACTE executive director is a member of the State Advisory Committee for Career and Technical Education.

KACTE has a proud legacy of achievement that continues to grow.


KVA-KACTE Presidents

YearPresidentField of Service

1926-27     G. Ivan Barnes                 Ag

1927-28     G. Ivan Barnes                 Ag

1928-29     Ethel Lovell                     T&I

1929-30     Ethel Lovell                     T&I

1930-31     M.C. Ford                       Ag

1931-32     M.C. Ford                       Ag

1932-33     Ralph Woods                   Ag

1933-34     Ralph Woods                   Ag

1934-35     Ata Lee                         HEc

1935-36     Ata Lee                         HEc

1936-37     Paul Harris                     T&I

1937-38     Paul Harris                     T&I

1938-39     C.F. Criley                     T&I

1939-40     C.F. Criley                     T&I

1940-41     Ronella Spickard             HEc

1941-42     Ronella Spickard             HEc

1942-43     Watson Armstrong           Ag

1943-44     Watson Armstrong           Ag

1944-45     A.H. Meyers                  T&I

1945-46     A.H. Meyers                  T&I

1946-47     Stephen S. Wilson           Ag

1947-48     Stephen S. Wilson           Ag

1948-49     Fannie Porter                 HEd

1949-50     James L. Patton              T&I

1950-51     Stanley Wall                  Ag

1951-52     Maurine Collins               HEc

1952-53     Luther Safriet                 T&I

1953-54     Fred Johnson                  Ag

1954-55     Virginia Rice                  HEc

1955-56     Devert Owens                T&I

1956-57     C.O. Neal                      Ag

1957-58     Mable Harrison               HEc

1958-59     George Ramey               T&I

1959-60     Jewell Colliver                Ag

1960-61     John Maguire                  DE

1961-62     Pauline Adkins                HEc

1962-63     Steve Marcum                T&I

1963-64     Arthur Corns                   Ag

1964-65     Marvin Cole                    Ag

1965-66     Christian Wallace             HEc

1966-67     H.C. Mathis                    T&I

1967-68     James R. Vaughn             Ag

1968-69     Doris Schmidt McDowell     Health

1969-70     Jean Karsner                   Bus/Off

1970-71     William Jeffrey                DE

1971-72     Peggy Unger                    HEc

1972-73     Marvin Church                 T&I

1973-74     Jim Wilds                       Ag

1974-75     Rebecca Forrest               Health

1975-76     Carol Harvey                  Bus/Off

1976-77     Elizabeth Tate                 DE

1977-78     Ruth E. Miller                  HEc

1978-79     Robert Bierman               Adm

1979-80     Charles Byers                  Ag

1980-81     Mildred Winkler                Health

1981-82     Kawanna Simpson            Bus/Off

1982-83     Evelyn Watson                 DE

1983-84     James Montgomery           Special Needs

1984-85     Phillip L. Rudolph             Ag

1985-86     Gerald Sloan                   Adm

1986-87     Jim L. Couch                   T&I

1987-88     Gary Coleman                  T&I

1988-8      Donna McAnelly Shaw       Bus/Off

1989-90     Mike McMillen                  T&I

1990-91     John Lacy                       Ag

1991-92     Bettye Brown                  HEc

1992-93     Carole Reed-Mahoney       Adm

1993-94     Larry McGregor               Adm

1994-95     Doug Roberts                 T&I

1995-96     Sherry Baber                  Adm

1996-97     Mary Webb                    Bus/Off

1997-98     Ron Baldwin                   T&I

1998-99     Richard Dockery              T&I

1999-200    Brenda Oldfield               Ag

2000-01     Keith Boarman                T&I

2001-02     Gary Shaffer                   Ag

2002-03     Phyllis Alderdice, Ph.D.     Bus/Off

2003-04     Chester Taylor                T&I/Adm

2004-05     Sarah Raikes                  FCS

2005-06     Mary Kleber                   Health

2006-07     Larry Helphinstine, Ed.D.  T&I

2007-08     Cherie Mingus                 FCS

2008-09     Ahmed Sabie, Ed.D.         Adm

2009-10     Dale Winkler, Ed.D.         Bus/Adm

2010-11     Ken Talley, Ed.D.            Adm

2011-12     Dexter Knight                 Adm

2012-13     Doris Sikora, PhD.          Teach.Ed.

2013-14     Doris Sikora, Ph.D.         Teach.Ed.

2014-15     Wayne King                  T&I/Adm

2015-16     Lee Ann Daugherty         Ag