Labette County High School’s students garner top awards most years at the national SkillsUSA Conference, but this year students weren’t the only ones returning home with awards.
LCHS electronics instructor Marty Warren was recognized as SkillsUSA’s Outstanding Career and Technical Educator before a crowd of 16,000 during the opening ceremony of the 53rd annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Louisville, Kentucky, June 19-23.
One of SkillsUSA’s highest recognitions, the Educator of the Year is awarded for teachers who guide SkillsUSA student members to becoming leaders in their chosen fields. Not awarded regularly, the award is only given when the board of directors of SkillsUSA wants to honor an exceptional educator for their service and dedication to career and technical education and SkillsUSA.
In addition to Mr. Warren’s career as an electronics instructor, he has also been a SkillsUSA adviser since 1983. His students have medaled many times at the state and national levels over the years, and he’s been a huge part of developing curriculum and competency standards for electronics technology courses and competitions.
“I’ve been teaching 36 years and been to nationals 33 years,” Mr. Warren said. “It is a great honor.”
To attend the national competition, students must place first in their state competitions. This speaks to the skill levels taught in Warren’s electronics program for more than three decades.
“Mr. Warren hasn’t just inspired his students to excel in their technical skills; he’s taught them to dream big, to nurture their employability and soft skills, and to always look for ways to improve themselves personally and professionally. Their successes over the years affirm the effectiveness of his methodology. His students are successful technicians, engineers, entrepreneurs and business owners,” SkillsUSA said in a release. “In fact, one former student hosts a television show on the Science Channel. Thirty-four of his students have also served as state officers and two as national officers. Mr. Warren’s wife is also heavily involved in SkillsUSA, serving as the director for SkillsUSA Kansas. Together, they’re a formidable duo when it comes to promoting the many benefits of career and technical education.”
“Marty’s life remains a strong testimony to those who have benefited from career and technical education,” said Tim Lawrence, executive director of SkillsUSA. “His dedication to student success is unquestioned, and the results of that dedication is a model for all educators,” he added.
“I’m very elated receiving this honor,” Warren said.
This year’s national conference was the biggest ever, and included speakers Mike Rowe from the Discovery Channel’s former reality show “Dirty Jobs” and Nick McGlashan from “Deadliest Catch,” Warren said, adding, “It keeps growing every year.”
Warren took several students with him this year to the national competition.
LCHS 2016-2017 juniors Megan Hyatt and Brittany McConnell placed 29th in Mobile Robotics Technology.
“They did an outstanding job,” Warren said. “This is the first time ever we have competed in this. We got our feet wet and they are excited about the possibility of competing next year.”
Incoming senior Jeremy Kowalsky placed eighth in the nation in Electronics Technology and Michael Miller, an incoming junior, placed fifth in the nation in Residential Systems Installation and Maintenance.
“These kids were amazing this year,” Warren said.
In addition to his students competing, Warren said Eddie Green’s carpentry student Mason Volmer grabbed gold in the carpentry competition, placing first in the nation and winning a multitude of prizes. As well, Green’s former student, Dylan Giager, a 2016 LCHS graduate, competed at the college level in the same contest winning gold. Giager is attending Fort Scott Community College in its building and trades program.
“I believe the United States is in good hands with our youth,” Warren said.