Ohio Chancellor Randy Gardner and Senator Matt Huffman were honored at the 2020 Legislative Seminar and each received Ohio ACTE's Public Servant of the Year Award. The award is given annually to public service leaders who have provided the greatest impact on career technical and adult education.
Pictured here are Maggie Hess, OACTS Executive Director, Keith Horner, Superintendent, Apollo Career Center, Senator Huffman, Chancellor Gardner, Christine Gardner, Ohio ACTE Executive Director and Bill Bussey, OTC Executive Director.
Ohio Senator Matt Huffman
Prior to joining the Ohio Senate, Matt Huffman was an attorney with the law firm Huffman, Kelly, Brock and Gottchalk in Lima, Ohio. Senator Huffman’s first experience with politics was as a member of Lima City Council where he served for 7 years. Senator Huffman then served in the Ohio House of Representatives for 4 terms. He was then elected to the Ohio Senate in November of 2016 where he has served since.
Senator Huffman has been a great friend and supporter of Career Technical Education and to traditional K - 12’s with his deregulation efforts. Senator Huffman has:
- sponsored and passed Senate Bill 216; a significant deregulation bill for K - 12 districts.
- sponsored and introduced Senate Bill 89 specifically deregulating Career Technical Centers that passed the Senate 33-0 and is now in the house.
- Senator Huffman is continuing with this effort to make our lives easier with a second version of SB 216 focusing on more deregulation.
Senator Huffman has also advocated and worked on a national level to propose a constitutional convention that would be focused on passing a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. He has remained fundamentally consistent in his positions on education policy throughout his legislative career and has supported those positions with legislative action.
Randy Gardner was appointed the 10th Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education just one year ago. As Chancellor, he oversees the state’s public two-year and four-year institutions and Ohio Technical Centers; provides policy guidance to the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly; and carries out state higher education policy. Prior to this appointment, Gardner served in the Ohio Senate for 13 years and the Ohio House of Representatives for 19 years. Gardner has been recognized as the General Assembly’s foremost policy leader in higher education. A well-respected leader in state government, Gardner has also previously served as Senate President Pro Tempore, House Majority Leader, and House Speaker Pro Tempore. He has also been a member of the Senate Finance Committee and the panels dealing with Ohio's workforce development and budget management. Gardner's work ethic was exemplified by his 100% voting record over 33 years—more than 10,430 consecutive votes. But most recently, the Chancellor was instrumental in securing a very significant increase in state funding for the Ohio Technical Centers. Over the years the appropriation for the OTC budget line item had decreased to the same level of FY 2001. Through the Chancellor’s leadership, the appropriation for the OTC line item for each year of the current biennial budget is 18.2 % higher than the previous year. Bringing the total for FY 2021 to the amount of $23,250,000! Back to the amount of FY2001 and a total increase of roughly $10 million. Also included is a renewed focus on business and industry training through an increase of $1.7 million out of the $23 million allocated.
Other initiatives spearheaded by the Chancellor that promotes opportunities for adults through OTCs is TechCred, OTC Awareness Campaign, Finish For your Future, Complete to Compete and countless more.
Being one of the most experienced career technical educators in the room, I remember Randy Gardner being involved in many issues dealing with career technical education over the past two or three decades.