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EASTERN Instructor Named “Region I Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) New Teacher of the Year”

Mike RefsniderEastern Center for Arts and Technology (EASTERN) is pleased to announce that Networking and Cybersecurity Instructor, Mr. Michael Refsnider, has been named “Region I Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) New Teacher of the Year.” This award recognizes new CTE teachers who have made significant contributions toward innovative and unique career and technical education programs and have shown a professional commitment early in their careers.  This honor is given to only one teacher in Region I, which consists of Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.

In August 2021, Mr. Refsnider was named New Teacher of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association for Career and Technical Education. Mr. Refsnider began his teaching career in 2019, coming from Wegmans Food Markets where he worked as an IT Zone Technician since 2004. When the pandemic hit, he was pivotal in implementing a new student information system, online learning, and provided overall technical support to his peers. He was nominated for his most recent achievement by Dr. Cathleen Plesnarski, EASTERN’s Executive Director.

“Mike goes above and beyond for the school and his students,” said Dr. Cathleen Plesnarski. “He started his teaching career at EASTERN 6 months before the pandemic closed schools and significantly changed the way we teach, work, and learn. Mike immediately went from new teacher to mentor in a matter of minutes.  Students in his program are engaged and vested.  Networking and Cybersecurity enrollment has more than doubled in two years.  The program has been revitalized to include cybersecurity which required a change in dual enrolment classes, curriculum, and certifications. We are so proud that he was selected as the Region I ACTE New Teacher of the Year.”

“I am honored to be selected for this award,” said Mr. Refsnider.  “Though I am fairly new to teaching high school students, I felt like it was a natural transition for me since IT training was always my favorite aspect of my previous jobs.  Being recognized for something that I truly enjoy is remarkable.  Thank you to Dr. Plesnarski for nominating me, and thank you to my EASTERN mentor, Wendy Leyden for guiding me as I learned the ropes.”

Mr. Refsnider brings a great deal of experience to EASTERN in many technical areas including networking, PC hardware/software, wireless infrastructure, and virtualized servers.  He is a graduate of Penn State University and a Cisco Certified Network Technician.

Mr. Refsnider is one of 5 finalists for the 2022 national title. The national winner will be announced at the ACTE Awards Banquet, a dinner, and an award presentation recognizing the best CTE educators in the country. The event will take place on Wednesday evening, November 30, during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2022 in Las Vegas, NV.

Prior to Mr. Refsnider’s recent accomplishments, Amy Mednick, a 1994 EASTERN Cosmetology/Lower Moreland High School graduate, and EASTERN Cosmetology teacher since 2011, was named the Pennsylvania Association for Career and Technical Education New Teacher of the Year in 2016.