The Ohio Association for Career Technical Education’s (ACTE) vision is to “be at the forefront of innovative educational techniques and processes to equip educators to meet or exceed their students’ educational goals and life expectations while pursuing their career calling.”
True to the Ohio ACTE vision, Tom O’Neill, Butler Tech Information Technology Instructor, goes beyond the typical classroom with a problem-based approach to educating students that fosters critical thinking applications and solutions. In recognition of his outstanding efforts, Tom O’Neill has been named the 2019 Ohio ACTE Teacher of the Year!
“I have never seen an instructor like Mr. O’Neill. He is credited with thinking outside the box in his approach to the classroom and exceeds expectations in career technical education with his ability to challenge students to their full potential,” said Amy Webb, Butler Tech Satellite Supervisor. “Mr. O’Neill pushes his students to think critically and problem-solve and leave his class instilled with life-long skills.”
Over the past several years, Mr. O’Neill’s Butler Tech students at Ross High School have partnered with Samsung in a “Solve for Tomorrow Challenge” in which they focused on solving two of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals on solving world hunger and poverty by creating a non-profit company known as JEE Foods. This company has partnered with Kroger and repurposes food that would otherwise be thrown out by flash freezing and dehydrating. Their products are then donated to local food banks. Under the direction and guidance of Mr. O’Neill, this group of students began their venture by having a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to present their non-profit company, JEE Foods, to the United Nations in New York City.
Additionally, in 2018, Mr. O’Neill facilitated a competition through Samsung where his students created an emergency response computer app that schools could use. His students won at the state level and finished within the top ten nationally, awarding the classroom with $50,000 in Samsung technology.
Mr. O’Neill is the advisor for the Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE) career technical student organization that promotes global cooperation. This same of group of students who began their journey at the United Nations presented their company JEE Foods at the SAGE National Competition in 2018, winning number ONE in the nation and then competing globally in Durban, South Africa in August 2018 where they won the World Cup against 42 other countries! Congratulations Mr. O’Neill!
“Ohio ACTE is a community that believes in the power of Career Technology Education. If this community deems me to be an educator that lives up to such a powerful statement or mission, I am both honored and humbled. I continually strive to provide my students with the best possible education to empower them to be the change agents of the future. I could not accomplish this without the support of my school districts, (Butler Tech and Ross), parents that believe in CTE, and students who are willing to accept the challenges related to CTE courses,” ~Tom O’Neill, 2019 Ohio ACTE Teacher of the Year