Tri County Tech Teacher Earns Statewide Accolade

August 3, 2022 – Bartlesville, OK

Tri County Tech’s Shelly Stephens was named the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education’s 2022 New Teacher of the Year during Monday’s annual CareerTech Summit at the Cox Business Convention Center.

The award is presented to an outstanding educator with no more than five years of experience teaching in a career or technical education program. One finalist was selected from each academic division under the CareerTech umbrella, such as agriculture education, health sciences, engineering and technology education, and family and consumer sciences.


“I was already really proud to represent the FACS (Family and Consumer Sciences) division. That was a wonderful award already, and everyone else who was up for this award was well deserving. It was definitely a surprise and an honor.”

Shelly Stephens, Tri County Tech Teacher Prep Instructor


Stephens received a $5,000 cash award along with a plaque and student-designed trophy.

She taught English and social studies in Colorado before to moving to Oklahoma in 2017 specifically to teach in Tri County Tech’s Teacher Prep program. Students who complete the one-year program are eligible to sit for the exams necessary to enter the workforce as a paraprofessional or can go on to pursue a college degree.

“It seemed like such an amazing opportunity to impact the field at the earliest level and inspire passion in people looking to pursue a career in education,” she said.

Based in Bartlesville, Tri County Tech serves students from Washington, Osage, and Nowata counties.

Other statewide winners announced at Monday’s ceremony include Teacher of the Year Karen Upton from Oklahoma City’s Metro Technology Center, Support Staff Member of the Year Kendra Allen from Canadian Valley Technology Center, Postsecondary Teacher of the Year Kim Goode from Ardmore-based Southern Oklahoma Technology Center and Advocate of the Year Roberta Howard.


“CareerTech plays an increasingly critical role in our state’s economic and workforce development. As we’ve faced extreme labor shortages this year, our CareerTech teachers and support staff contribute daily to the successes of students who are our future workforce and, by extension, our future economy. The four educators recognized today are to be commended for their extraordinary efforts to help their students succeed.

Bob Funk Jr., Express Employment Services Vice President

About Tri County Tech

We’re one of Oklahoma’s first CareerTech schools and have a steadfast spirit for innovation and improvement. Our devotion to each other, students, and the life-changing learning we provide fuels our pursuit of excellence. We call this the “Tri County Way.” We have locations in Bartlesville, Pawhuska, and Nowata, Oklahoma.

About Oklahoma CareerTech

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 59 campuses, 394 PK-12 school districts, and 13 Skills Centers campuses, including three juvenile facilities and 31 adult basic education service providers.

The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education. It works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.


Originally published by Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton with the Tulsa World on Aug 1, 2022.