By Tara Fort
When Jennifer Woods started teaching at an inner-city school in Virginia in 1992, the school received 33 state-of-the-art Macintosh Classic computers. Facing the unknown eventually launched Woods’s journey toward her current position as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director of Prescott High School (PHS). “Instead of fearing the unfamiliar, I decided my class and I would become the experts on how to use the equipment. The love I gained from that experience led me to teach CTE classes from computers to industrial arts, to classes about the educational field, and to my eventually becoming the CTE Director at PHS!” In newer terminology, CTE is the practice of teaching specific skills to prepare all students for a wide range of careers that may require varying levels of education, credentials, postsecondary certificates and two- and four-year degrees.
Woods has been in education for 27 years and appreciates this directorship as the highlight of her teaching career, “I have learned so much about education and administration. As a result, I have personally grown as an individual—and I still get to work with students. A win-win for me!” She also knows the value of being a part of a team through the support that PUSD shows its educators and states, “Administrators Mark Goligoski and Clark Tenney have trusted, guided and encouraged me to grow and promote all the programs PHS has to offer.” District Superintendent Joe Howard says, “Jennifer Woods is a class act in everything she does. She immediately brought shine and true credibility to our CTE programs at Prescott High School. She is just getting started. I have no doubt that under her leadership, we will maximize the opportunities in CTE for our students.”
PUSD offers six CTE classes like Film/TV, Digital Communications, Network Security/Cyber Security, Automotive Technologies, Business Management, and JROTC, and will add more next year. Through the connection with Mountain Institute, which also provides technical training and classes to students in Western Yavapai County, PUSD students can take nine other courses such as Aviation, Engineering, and Robotics, Medical Assisting, CNA and Welding. Woods adds, “There is no greater joy than watching the next generation of young women find a passion for their careers. For example, seeing Kyleigh Morriss in the auto garage working on a vehicle, or hearing Boston Siddoway present at an FBLA event, or watching Callie Oryall stand at attention in her JROTC uniform. These are just a few examples of how CTE courses are opening doors for our students, and how lucky I am to be a part of it all!”
A long-time resident of Prescott for over a decade, Woods’ passion starts with her family and she enjoys spending her time “racing her children around to soccer and basketball games and play performances. It’s exhausting, but we love seeing them participate in activities they are passionate about!”
For more information about Jennifer Woods and the CTE Program at Prescott High School, visit www.prescottschools.com.