Alumni Spotlight - Karen Aldworth, MSEd, CTE – Education Program

Karen Aldworth with award

Congratulations Karen, for winning the 2016 IACTE New Teacher of the Year!

UNE Online graduate wins award of excellence

Karen Aldworth, recent UNE MSEd: CTE graduate, was nominated for and won the Illinois Association for Career and Technical Education (IACTE) New Teacher of the Year award and represented Illinois at the Region III Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) conference on June 15-17th, 2016.

Karen is a Health Science / Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) instructor in Illinois, preparing students to be successful and integral members of the healthcare field. She strives to instill a sense of fun into the learning process, while also incorporating the latest learning technology using a variety of instructional strategies and activities.

Shaping the future of career and technical education

Karen received her MSEd with a focus on Career & Technical Education (CTE). The CTE focus area of UNE’s is designed for practicing Career and Technical Education professionals learning to refine their skills. The focus of the online CTE graduate education program is on improving instructional and curricular competencies as well as the development of leadership skills. Today’s cutting-edge, rigorous and relevant career and technical education prepares youth and adults for a wide range of high-wage, high-skill, high-demand careers.

About the IACTE award

Karen Aldworth, center, with her CNA students at the end of the school year

Karen Aldworth, center, with her CNA students at the end of the school year

According to the IACTE website, the Illinois Association for Career and Technical Education Awards Program seeks to promote excellence in career and technical education by recognizing individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the field, in programs that exemplify the highest standards and organizations that have conducted activities to promote and expand career and technical education programs. The New Teacher of the Year Award is a prestigious distinction, designed to recognize excellence among members of the Association for Career and Technical Education educators.

The value of student & support relationships

To give you an idea of the relationships that grow between our students and their support specialists, here’s a peek into an email correspondence between Karen and Student Support Specialist Hayley Kinsella. Karen granted her permission to republish this email about graduation weekend.


Thanks so much for all the effort you put into the weekend to make it perfect for us.  Words cannot not express how much I enjoyed the experience of the hooding especially.  I really feel that when I received my BSN at age 22 I did not appreciate the magnitude of the accomplishment. Going back to school at a seasoned age I understand the work that we all put into our degrees.

The program helped me become a better teacher for my students.  As I read today some goodbye notes from my students, I realized for the millionth time in these past 4 years that although I landed in my teaching career in 2012 by chance, I have found where I am supposed to be as I close out my wonderful career as a nurse.  And that is inspiring my students not only to be great health care providers but also to be the best person they can be.

Keep your fingers crossed as I go to Jefferson City, MO in June when I represent IL as IL IACTE New Teacher of the Year at the Region 3 ACTE conference.  I am very humbled to go up against the other New teachers of the Year from the surrounding states.  I am hoping since your MEd in CTE is a relatively new program it will help me stand out from the other wonderful educators in the competition.


Karen Aldworth

Karen Aldworth in robe

Newly-hooded Karen Aldworth, leaving the stage during 2016 hooding ceremony

Congratulations, Karen, on achieving this milestone in your career and winning the New Teacher of the Year Award. We are so proud of you – and we’re excited to see where you will go from here!

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