Advisors of the Year
The SkillsUSA State Directors Association created the Advisor of the Year award to recognize and honor dedicated career and technical education instructors who serve as SkillsUSA advisors. State winners are submitted to the regional competition. At NLSC, regional winners are interviewed and a national winner is selected.
To nominate someone for advisor of the year, please contact your state association director.
The 2019 regional Advisors of the Year are:
Region 1 (Massachusetts)
A dedicated career and technical education and English immersion teacher for the past 15 years (and SkillsUSA advisor for five of those years), Lynn Vocational Technical Institute’s Jason McCuish has a passion for community service. McCuish has helped his students raise thousands of dollars for community organizations, inspiring the students and sparking a schoolwide culture of giving back along the way. He’s received a multitude of awards and accolades, including citations from the City of Lynn and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for his outstanding community service efforts. For McCuish, however, nothing tops the satisfaction he feels seeing his students develop the sense of confidence and self-esteem that’s an inherent by-product of his program.
Region 2 (Virginia)
Since 2006, cosmetology instructor Rita Yeary has been the lead advisor for Southampton High School’s SkillsUSA chapter in Franklin, Va. Described by one peer as “an amazing advisor, cosmetologist, mother, grandmother and friend,” Yeary has worked tirelessly at the local and state levels to coordinate a host of community service activities. She selflessly donates many hours of her time after school and on weekends to help her students prepare for competitions and certification tests, and she also helps train fellow advisors. According to Yeary, her goal is “to instill integrity, work ethic and professionalism” in all her students
Region 3 (Michigan)
During his 13 years as the lead SkillsUSA advisor for the Bay-Arenac Independent School District Career Center, David Urlaub has mentored more than 7,500 students. Urlaub’s chapter brings more than 230 competitors to the re- gional SkillsUSA competition each year, and even more participate in the many community service efforts he coordinates. Those efforts have seen his chapter collect food for homeless shelters, support troops overseas, spearhead toy drives, host events to benefit adults with disabilities and more. Urlaub’s passionate and committed leadership is a model for all advisors to follow.
Region 4 (Oklahoma)
“Seeing students’ lives change due to SkillsUSA involvement is so motivating,” says advisor Jeanne McClish. Before retiring in 2018, McClish served 14 years as the career and technical student organizations coordinator at Moore Nor- man Technology Center. Prior to that, she served the school for 16 years as its coordinator of pre-vocational training. “Not being a specific occupational teacher, I had the privilege of working with many students from many career fields,” she says. “I have seen firsthand the impact of SkillsUSA in their lives.” McClish has been a huge part of that impact throughout her career, from judging leadership contests to helping students run for office, supporting their fundraisers and coordinating commu- nity service projects.
Region 4 (Missouri)
Rebecca Dickerson has taught health occupations at Eldon (Mo.) Career Center for the past 10 years. Prior to becoming a teacher, Dickerson was a registered nurse for 16 years, and she brought that level of expertise with her into the classroom. Enrolling members from a variety of academic, social and economic backgrounds, Dickerson embraces her students’ abilities and interests and empowers them to reach their goals. As a SkillsUSA advisor, she’s led her students to 12 national medals and more than 40 state medals. Dickerson prepares all students to compete, and the SkillsUSA Framework is at the heart of her curriculum. Her graduation and job-placement rates for her students are consistently the best at her school.
Region 5 (Arizona)
For those who know him, Norman Champagne is synonymous with SkillsUSA. A SkillsUSA advisor for 36 years and a former automotive instructor, Champagne is currently the career and technical education instructional leader at Kofa High School in Yuma, Ariz. In that role, he’s become known for growing programs and membership numbers each year. In 2019, for example, Champagne added four additional programs, leading to a school CTE enrollment record of 1,803 students. Champagne has also been a catalyst for increasing SkillsUSA program of work activities in his region. His school has hosted many events and contests, and he actively seeks — and finds — partnerships with industry. He was also one of the first advisors to embrace the SkillsUSA Framework and incorporate it into classroom curriculum.