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Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education

Our Leadership

Ohio ACTE Executive Board 2022-2023

Ohio ACTE's leaders are elected by the membership and serve as the governing board for Ohio ACTE.  The foundation of Ohio ACTE is its leadership.  If you are interested in serving in a leadership position, please contact Ohio ACTE for information.

Michael Parry- President, U.S. Grant Career Center, Superintendent 

Mike Parry is the Superintendent of U.S. Grant Career Center in Bethel.   Mike has spent his career in Career Technical Education.  Prior to serving as the Grant Career Center Superintendent, Mike served as the Superintendent of Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center.  As a Superintendent, he has a proven track-record of being a visionary and innovative leader who builds strong relationships with stakeholders – both internal and external – as well as a strong, highly focused team.

Before moving into the Chief Executive role, Mike served as the Executive Director of Secondary Education for Butler Technology and Career Development Schools.  Prior to taking on the executive role at Butler Tech, Mike worked with the development and administration of programs for at-risk youth, online learning, and transitions programs for individuals with special needs.

Before joining the Butler Tech team, Mike was a Social Studies and English Language Arts Instructor for at-risk youth with Miami Valley Career Technology Center.  Before that he was a Theology teacher on the mid-Pacific Island, Saipan.  Originally, Mike hales from Western Pennsylvania, growing up outside of Pittsburgh.

Mike’s education includes a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from the University of Dayton.  He is a member of National and State Association of Career Technical Education, National Council of Local Administrators, Ohio Association of Career Technical Superintendents, Buckeye Association of School Administrators, and the Board of Advisors for the Clermont Chamber of Commerce.

Brian Bontempo - President-Elect (Office of President- Elect, for a one year term beginning Sept. 1, 2022 followed by a one year term as Ohio ACTE President and one year as Past President) Auburn Career Center, Superintendent 

As the Superintendent of Auburn Career Center, Brian has implemented many positive changes in his five years.  He has led the District through staffing reorganization, addition or reorganization of Criminal Justice, Dental Assistant programs, Technology & Engineering and Design, Computer Networking Technology and Cyber Security, and Pro Web and Game Design, a marketing rebranding process, the start of the Auburn Education Foundation, a facilities renovation plan and the resurgence of enrollment to the highest it has been in years. 

The growth includes the start-up of summer boot camp skills program for High School & Adults, as well as leading the major “growth” of the adult programming at Auburn Career Center thru creative customized models and modifying existing models.  In addition, he has led workforce and skills training committees that have launched initiatives in Manufacturing, Healthcare and Technology.  Most recently Auburn Career Center has expanded offerings in micro credentials to middle schools and a regional Certified Production Tech initiative thru Career Based Intervention.

Brian came to the Auburn Career Center after nine years as Superintendent of the Lake County ESC. Prior to joining the ESC, he  served as Principal at W
illoughby South High School, a suburban school of over 1,200 students. Prior to being the principal, he was an assistant principal at Willoughby South and received the Ohio Assistant Principal of the Year Award in 2002. Brian was also recognized as the John Carroll University Alumni of the Year in 2002. His background includes working as the Director of Technology, classroom teacher, and head wrestling coach. In addition, he has served on numerous levy, facility labor management and dispute committees, and has considerable experience in curriculum and program development.

Brian is Past President of the Ohio Educational Service Center Association (OESCA) and former Chairman of the Lake County Schools Health Care Consortium. He also serves on the Kent State Geauga Advisory Board, and the American Technical Education Association Board and has an extensive network of leaders across Ohio.
  He holds a B.S. in Business Education, a M.Ed. in Computer Education, a M.Ed. in School Administration, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. He also holds Ohio licenses as superintendent, treasurer and K-12 principal.

Jon Graft - Past President, Butler Tech, Superintendent/CEO

Jon Graft is the Superintendent/CEO of Butler Tech, one of Ohio’s largest providers of career technical education. Jon has forged unique business and industry partnerships to create opportunity for students and spur economic development in the region. With the Fifth Day Experience and Student Showcases launching in the 2019-2020 school year, Butler Tech is at the forefront of the Education Revolution.  Butler Tech serves more than 17,000 secondary students each day and more than 2,000 adult students annually. 

Prior to joining Butler Tech, Jon was Superintendent of the Butler County Educational Service Center. During his tenure, the agency doubled educational programming and staffing for its partner school districts, while growing professional development, special education, and multi-faceted family services from prenatal through high school.  

Jon’s roots are in education, having held leadership roles in the Middletown City School District and Madison Local Schools. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Bowling Green State University and a Master’s Degree in Administration from the University of Dayton.     

Jon is a member of the National and State Association of Career Technical Education, Ohio Association of Career Technical Superintendents, Buckeye Association of School Administrators, the Greater Cincinnati Public School Advocacy Network, Middletown Chamber Executive Board, Southwest Ohio Computer Association Executive Committee, and the Miami University College Access Partnership. 

Liz Jensen - Treasurer, Fairmont Kettering High School, Career Technology Principal

My journey into career technical education has been somewhat non-traditional, with my vast experience in the traditional education setting fueling my passion that career technical education is truly the correct pathway for every child.

The first 13 years of my educational experience were spent in a mathematics classroom at Fairmont High School, during which I also served as President and Negotiations Chair of the Kettering Education Association teachers union.  It was after presenting a newly negotiated contract for ratification to our 500+ members that I was approached about becoming Fairmont’s Career Tech Principal.  I distinctly remember my first question being “Why me?”.  I agreed to attend an OCTA conference to learn more and was immediately hooked.  I have found my true passion in career tech education and see the impact we are making on student lives each and every day.  During my now 11 years as Fairmont’s Career Tech Principal I have been an OACTE and Ohio CCS member and have been very positively impacted and aided by the assistance and political advocacy of the members of both organizations.  I decided 3 years ago that it was time I give back to the community which has aided me so much by serving as Professional Development Chairperson, President-Elect and now President of Ohio CCS.  The opportunity to assist others has meant a lot to me, and I have also thoroughly enjoyed working alongside our JVSD counterparts to advocate for CTE, no matter the delivery model it is packaged in.  These positive experiences on behalf of Ohio CCS have empowered me to take my service to the next level by representing the CTE community as a whole on the OACTE board.

I call my job in career tech as one of “immediate gratification” because each and every day I see career tech positively impacting the lives of students.  It is my hope and desire to continue the good work that has been accomplished to further spread this impactful, life-changing branch of education throughout our state. 

Krista Gearhart - Secretary,  South Stark Career Academy, Director of Career Technical Education

Krista Gearhart is currently in her 10th year as the Director of Career Technical Education (CTE) for South Stark Career Academy, a compact in Stark county providing CTE to students from Canton Local, Osnaburg Local, Perry Local, and Sandy Valley Local school districts. In addition, she serves as the Director for Student Services (all-things Counseling-related) at the CTPD lead district, Canton Local.

Prior to her years in administration, Krista was a middle school Language Arts teacher in Perry Local Schools while completing a dual-license in School and Clinical Mental Health counseling. She was a School Counselor for eight years in Jackson Local and Canton Local School Districts.

Krista has held and continues to hold leadership positions in professional state and local CTE organizations. She is a Past-President of the Ohio Association of Comprehensive and Compact Schools (Ohio CCS) and has served as Legislative Chair on the Ohio CCS Executive Board since her official 3-year Presidential cycle expired in 2017. She is currently the President of OCTA region IV, thus also serving on the state OCTA board.

Krista has served on numerous ODE Workgroups and has a personal working relationship with many members of the ODE-CTE staff. Because of these leadership experiences, Krista has built positive collegial relationships with CTE colleagues from all delivery models and across the state.

Krista holds a Bachelor's degree in Education from Kent State University, a Masters degree in School and Mental Health Counseling from Walsh University, and a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University.

Dee Smith - Ohio ACTE Executive Director (non-voting) 

Dee has represented clients’ interests in a variety of roles, around the capitol for 19+years.  During her career, she has successfully represented corporations and trade associations in numerous substantive issue areas, although her areas of expertise are in environmental issues, health care, and education.  Her well-respected reputation is based on honesty, hard work and a practical approach to the issue.

Forging an untraditional path to her current position, she served as a legal assistant at Card, Cook, Holt and Pugh, in Memphis, Tennessee and before that at Roth, Shannon and Underwood in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. After taking extended leave after the birth of her daughter, she joined Pappas & Associates in 2004.
During her time at Pappas & Associates, she has assisted in reforming and modernizing the environmental background investigation process, significantly reducing the administrative burden and saving those entities impacted two-thirds of the fees they previously paid.

Over the years, she has also worked extensively to secure, maintain, and bolster funding for the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG). Since the phase out of the original Ohio Instructional grant, OCOG funding has been redesigned and shifted multiple times, each time the Pappas team worked to secure the best outcome for their client.

A tireless advocate of career-technical education, Smith represents the interests of Ohio’s career-tech schools and students throughout the state before the Ohio General Assembly and statewide offices. Her experience as both alumni and career-tech parent provides a unique expertise for policy makers as decisions are made on Capital Square.

Smith is a member of the Ohio Lobbying Association. As a alumni and Hall of Fame Inductee of Fairfield Career Center, she is a proponent of career-technical education and the advantages such education has to offer. She continues to pursue completion of her degree.

To contact the executive board, email Ohio ACTE at or call Ohio ACTE at (614)890-2283.

Click here to see a list of Ohio ACTE's past presidents.  

Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education

690 Taylor Rd., Ste. 220, Gahanna, Ohio 43230
(614) 890-ACTE (2283)
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