K-ACTE Award Winners 2013


Teacher of the Year - State: Bobbie Qualls
Affiliate: KATFACS


Bobbie QuallsBobbie Qualls, FACS teacher/FCCLA adviser at West Elk High School, has been named as the 2013 state recipient of the Teacher of the Year award.

Qualls is a Family and Consumer Sciences instructor with 33 years of experience. Holding a Bachelor’s in Home Economics from Oklahoma State University, Qualls is certified in Early Childhood Education, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Chemistry. She holds a Master’s Degree in Interior Design - Living Space Arrangement from the University of Central Oklahoma. Bobbie spent the first 28 years of her career in Oklahoma as a FACS and Chemistry teacher. During that time, she also taught CDA and Evening Adult Classes at Gordon Cooper Technology Center, as well as Alternative Education Classes. Furthermore, she has been a summer youth academy instructor in Oklahoma.

Qualls has spent the past five years furthering her career in Kansas at West Elk High School, where she is currently West Elk High School’s FCCLA Adviser teaching Family and Consumer Science Classes in the Human Services – Family and Community Service Pathway. In 2003, Qualls achieved recognition as a National Board Certified Teacher in Career and Technology Education and was awarded the Oklahoma Silver Key Award in 2008. In 2011, she was chosen to speak in Washington, D.C. to the Committee on Ways and Means on behalf of the Dibble Institute. Qualls was awarded J-West Adviser of the Year in 2013, and KATFACS Teacher of the Year in 2013. She has served as a Kansas FCCLA State Board Member and Kansas FCCLA SEAC President. She is a member of ACTE, Kansas ACTE, KATFACS (serving as District J Vice President), AAFCS, Oklahoma ACTE, and OKFACS. 

Teacher of the Year - Affiliate: Angelle Higbie
Affiliate: KAAE


Angelle HigbieAngelle Higbie, agriculture instructor at West Franklin High School, has been named as the 2013 affiliate winner of the Teacher of the Year award.

Higbie was born and raised in southern Louisiana. She has been active with horses most of her life riding in organizations such as AQHA, NBHA, youth drill teams, and local horse show circuits in Louisiana. She was also an active 4-H member in East Baton Rouge Parish. Higbie graduated in 1998 from Louisiana State University with a degree in Agriculture Business. She worked at the LSU Cotton Lab for three years. Upon completion of her B.S., Higbie received a Masters Degree in Agriculture Education in May 2000. While completing her Masters, she served as coordinator for the Louisiana State FFA contests for two years.

Higbie married Aaron Higbie of Williamsburg, Kan. in the summer of 2000 and moved to Kansas to begin the next chapter in her life. She taught Agriculture Education at Spring Hill High School for four years before taking a Special Education position at Williamsburg High School in 2004. Since she missed Agriculture Instruction, she took the Agriculture Instructor position at Williamsburg High School in 2007 and has been teaching in USD 287 as the Agriculture Instructor since. Higbie teaches a variety of preparations including Animal Science, Horticulture, Agriculture Business, Welding, Exploratory Agriculture, and Agriscience. She is also certified in Adaptive Special Education, Middle School Science, and Middle School Language Arts. Higbie has been the assistant high school volleyball coach for the West Franklin Falcons since 2007.

Young Teacher of the Year – State: Carmelita Goossen
Affiliate: KAAE


Carmelita GoossenCarmelita Goossen, agricultural education teacher at Southwestern Heights High School, has been named as the 2013 state recipient of the Young Teacher of the Year award.

Goossen always had a desire to pursue a career in education, but it was her late sister Lucinda Goossen who encouraged her to combine her passions for teaching, agriculture, and diversity and consider teaching agricultural education.

Goossen taught and served as the FFA Adviser in the Agricultural Education Department at Southwestern Heights High School from 2006-2013. She appreciated the location because of its richness in diverse agricultural opportunities, as well as Hispanic culture. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Goossen advised her FFA officers in the planning of community and leadership development activities; helped students set career-related goals through developing supervised agricultural experience (SAE) programs; and coached career development event (CDE) teams.

Over the last seven years Goossen has advised five National FFA Agriscience Fair Finalists, four FFA SAE Grant recipients, numerous scholarship and state degree recipients, 30 Southwest District SAE proficiency award winners, many award winning career development event teams, and the 2009-2010 Southwest District FFA Officer Team. Under her leadership, the Southwestern Heights FFA Chapter has been recognized for state and national awards including: 3-Star National Chapter Award recipient since 2011, Kansas FFA Triple Crown contender since 2010, Kansas Farm Bureau Chapter Grant recipient since 2010, Kansas Farm Bureau Safety Award recipient since 2008, and NAAE/PALS Greenhouse Enhancement Grant recipient in 2008, which helped fund the construction of a new greenhouse for the Agricultural Education Department.

Goossen believes her infectious passion for agricultural literacy and love for students helps to motivate and encourage students. These traits contributed to Goossen’s recognition as the 2012 Region II NAAE Outstanding Young Member and a 2012 ACTE New Career and Technical Teacher National Finalist.

Outstanding Career and Technical Educator – State: Debra Andres
Affiliate: KATFACS


Debra AndresDebra Andres, instructor at Kansas State University, has been named as the 2013 state winner of the Outstanding Career and Technical Educator award.

Andres has worked with Career and Technical Education from the time she graduated from High School. As a undergraduate student at KSU, she was an active member and officer of several FCS focused organizations. As a supervisor at Frito Lay, Inc. she was able to apply her CTE skills to help her employees have a better working environment through the creation and implementation of a health and wellness initiative. As a Program Assistant for FCS Extension, she worked to keep lines of communication open between the state office and FCS agents across Kansas. While at Council Grove High school, she created and implemented a school-based business that received state and national recognition.

Now, at her current position, she is working with all CTE education students through the Core Teaching Skills class and with FCS education students specifically in the Career Pathways class and as a university supervisor to FCS student teachers. Additionally, she serves on several local, state and national leadership teams with various roles.

Outstanding New Career and Technical Teacher – State: John Bergin
Affiliate: KAAE


John BerginJohn Bergin has been named as a 2013 state winner of the Outstanding New Career and Technical Teacher award.

Bergin is the agricultural educator at Southeast of Saline High School in Gypsum, Kan. In addition to leading the FFA chapter, he teaches exploratory agriculture, agriscience, agricultural mechanics, advanced agricultural mechanics, animal science, agricultural research, and plant and soil science. The Southeast of Saline FFA chapter has been recognized as a Model of Innovation chapter, and he had a student win a national proficiency award under his advisement. The chapter has 52 FFA members who are active in a variety of activities, including: Ag Sales, Horse Judging, Food Science, building shop projects, attending the National FFA Convention, and planning the annual plant sale. At Southeast of Saline, Bergin is also the concessions manager and the junior class sponsor.

Bergin is a four-year member of KAAE and K-ACTE. He got his introduction to CTE organizations as an intern for NAAE in 2008 during his senior year at Kansas State University. John currently serves as the North Central District KAAE Vice President and is a member of the KAAE Executive Council. As a member of the legislative committee, Bergin attended the 2013 ACTE National Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C. During that time, he enjoyed advocating for Perkins funding and networking with other CTE teachers.

Outstanding New Career and Technical Teacher – Affiliate: Magan Bearman
Affiliate: KATFACS


Magan BearmanMagan Bearman, FACS teacher at Campus High School, has been named as the 2013 affiliate winner of the Outstanding New Career and Technical Teacher award.

Bearman just finished her fifth year as a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, her third year in Kansas. She currently teaches Life on your Own 1 and 2, Relationship Smarts, and Fashion and Construction at Campus High School in Haysville. In the past at Campus, she has also taught Early Childhood Education. She is actively involved as an adviser with her school’s FCCLA chapter, and many of the events they are involved with every year.

Bearman has been a part of K-ACTE summer conferences in both Kansas City and Wichita and has taken her FCCLA Chapter to Fall and Spring Leadership Conferences as well as National Cluster meetings in Denver and Oklahoma City. Her FCCLA Knowledge Bowl team finished 3rd at the National Cluster meeting in Oklahoma City this past fall. She has judged for the District I STAR events in 2012 and 2013, and was a room consultant at the State STAR Events competition in Wichita in 2013.

This past summer, Bearman had the opportunity to help revise the Kansas middle school curriculum. She worked with several teachers from all over the state, making several day trips to Emporia to give a facelift to the old and outdated middle school curriculum. She spent many days and hours working to make the curriculum relevant for today’s middle school students and cross-walking include Common Core and to integrate new technology.

Outstanding New Career and Technical Teacher – Affiliate: Katy Ulepich
Affiliate: KATFACS


Katy UlepichKaty Ulepich, FACS teacher/FCCLA adviser at Frontenac High School, has been named as the 2013 affiliate winner of the Outstanding New Career and Technical Teacher award.

Ulepich is currently the Family and Consumer Science (FACS) teacher and Family Career Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) student adviser at Frontenac High School in Frontenac, Kan. She is also a member of American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) and Kansas Association of Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences (KATFACS). Ulepich currently serves as chair of the CTE learning community and has provided leadership and support to her fellow educators. In 2012, she was a Clyde U Phillips, Outstanding Young Educator nominee through Pittsburg State University. She has served as a member on the State Executive and Advisory Council for FCCLA for the past three years. During this time, Ulepich has served on several committees to help organize and promote FCCLA’s State Leadership Conferences. This school year, she is serving as the District J-East Adviser, State and National Star Event judge, and as a member of the public relations committee for FCCLA.

Ulepich’s most recent volunteer activities include Ronald McDonald House, Salvation Army, Wesley House, Special Olympics of Kansas, and Extreme Home Makeover. She enjoys giving back to the community by organizing community projects, canned food drives, toys for tots during the holidays, and by volunteering her time.

Outstanding Teacher in Community Service – State: Diane Breiner
Affiliate: KATFACS


Diane BreinerDiane Breiner, FACS instructor at Wabaunsee High School, has been named as the 2013 state recipient of the Outstanding Teacher in Community Service award.

Family is the central focus of FCCLA and also describes Breiner’s central focus. Breiner and her husband Dave have been married for 40 years. They own and operate Mill Creek Ranch, a registered Hereford and Angus cattle operation near Alma, Kan. They have four children. 

Breiner is in her 27th year as the FACS Instructor and FCCLA Adviser at Wabaunsee High School in Alma. Classes offered in her department include: Introduction to Human Services, Career and Life Planning, Consumer and Personal Finance, Human Growth and Development, Family Studies, Nutrition and Wellness and Career and Community Connections through the Family and Community Services Pathway.

At Wabaunsee High School, Breiner is the CTE Coordinator, a member of the Career and College Ready Committee, and on the Professional Development Committee. She also keeps books for the volleyball and basketball teams. She has served as Retirement Chair and Promotions Co-Chair for KATFACS and has been a member of K-ACTE and ACTE throughout her professional career.
Breiner is very involved in professional organizations outside of education through her family’s ranching operation, and her involvement in the American and Kansas Hereford Associations and respective Women’s Organizations.

Award of Merit: Kansas Pork Association
Kansas Pork AssociationNominated by KATFACS


The Kansas Pork Association has been named as the 2013 state recipient of the Award of Merit.  The Kansas Pork Association is a farmer-led organization consisting of Kansas farmers. KPA promotes pork and pork products, funds research, and encourages dialogue between food purchasers and farmers about the pork industry. KPA has supported regional and statewide KATFACS conferences and given out thousands of dollars to support FACS teachers in Kansas classrooms. For more information about this or any other programs of the Kansas Pork Association, visit eatpork.org.

Carl Perkins Outstanding Service Award: Jim Means
Nominated by KATFACS


Jim MeansJim Means, executive director of Career and Technical Education for Wichita Public Schools, has been named as the 2013 state recipient of the Carl Perkins Outstanding Service Award.

In his role for Wichita Public Schools, Means oversees the 21 CTE pathways delivered across the district’s 10 high schools. Before assuming this position in 2007, Means had held various administrative positions within the Wichita Public Schools, as well as administrative positions at Wichita Area Technical College where he served as Vice President of Operations. Means is the current past-president of the Kansas Council of Career and Technical Education Administrators (KCCTEA), and sits on several boards in the community including Junior Achievement of Wichita, Credit Union of America, Kansas Council on Economic Education, and LWIB Oversight Committee/Youth Council.
On the local policy front, Means facilitated a Board of Education policy change that made financial literacy and CTE part of the graduation requirements for all Wichita students beginning with the class of 2013. He has been actively involved in work across the state as CTE programs transitioned to the new clusters and pathways model. Wichita Public Schools worked closely with KSDE to develop two brand new pathways: Emergency and Fire Management Services; and Correction, Security, Law, and Law Enforcement Services. In addition, Means participated in planning meetings, and a work group under a taskforce appointed by Governor Brownback to implement the Governor’s CTE initiative.

At the national level, Means recently chaired an ACTE work group to review manufacturing cluster course titles and descriptions contained within the SCED-Secondary School Course Classification System.

Means and his wife, Terri, have three children. In his personal time, Means helps lead his son’s Boy Scout Troop and is very involved in church activities and leadership.

Policymaker of the Year: Senator Steve Abrams


Steve AbramsSenator Steve Abrams has been named as the 2013 state recipient of the Policymaker of the Year Award.  An advocate for teachers and a defender of parental rights, Dr. Abrams has spent years seeking to improve education for our children’s future. On both the local school board and then 14 years on the State Board of Education, Dr. Abrams has been a leader in the drive to make our schools stronger and our children more prepared to compete in the world marketplace.

Dr. Abrams earned a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University. He has served in numerous business and professional organizations, is active in his church and is a past Chairman of the Kansas Republican Party.

He is a deeply devoted husband, father and grandfather. He resides in Arkansas City where he currently practices veterinary medicine.
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