Career and Technical Academy Innovations in Teaching and Learning

Felicia Nemcek, Craig Statucki, and Angelo Pappano, Southwest Career and Technology Academy (SWCTA)
The Southwest Career and Technical Academy is a Clark County School District public magnet school in its fourth year of operation that has 1,400 students enrolled in 11 different career and technical education program areas. In this session, participants learn how a career and technical academy utilizes cross-curricular professional development, innovative technology, project-based learning, and community and industry partners to provide a 21st century education, offer real-world experiences, and prepare students to be college and career ready.

About the Presenters:
Felicia Nemcek, Principal, Southwest Career and Technical Academy (SWCTA)
Felicia Nemcek is the principal of the Southwest Career and Technical Academy. SWCTA is a public magnet high school in the Clark County School District (CCSD). This is her fourth year as the founding principal. She opened the SWCTA in August 2009, which focuses on 21st century skills within two smaller learning communities, featuring 11 unique career and technical education programs. She has a progressive philosophy towards technology and education. Incorporating project-based learning into traditional curriculum instruction is a key component to her forward-thinking approach and her support of STEM education. This also includes a 1:1 program assigning iPads and iPods for students in grades 10–12 with the goal of utilizing this tool as an educational resource inside and outside the classroom. Nemcek is the recipient of the 2011 Nevada ACTE Outstanding Educator of the Year award, and the SWCTA received the 2012 Apple Distinguished School award. She is a Governor’s Workforce Investment Board Information Technology Sector Council member (Nevada) and serves on the CCSD Curriculum Commission and CCSD Technology Committee. A native of Las Vegas, Nemcek is a graduate of the Clark County School District and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Craig Statucki, IT Teacher and Community Partnership Coordinator, Southwest Career and Technical Academy
Craig Statucki is the community partnership coordinator and digital game development program leader at Southwest Career and Technical Academy. In the game development classes, Statucki teaches game structure and theory in addition to several programming languages including JavaScript, Java, and app development languages. As the community partnership coordinator, he coordinates activities between the 11 program areas at Southwest CTA and their respective industry partners. Statucki also provides campus tours for members of industry, educational leaders, and other dignitaries. Before opening Southwest CTA, he taught 3D Animations and Graphics and business classes at Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas for eight years. Statucki serves or has served on several district and/or state curriculum committees including Graphic Design, Animation, Web Design, and Game Development. He is a member of the CCSD Joint Technical Skills Committee for Media Technology and is currently serving as the vice president of Information and Media Technology Division of the Nevada ACTE. In 2008, Statucki was selected as the Summerlin Youth Forum Teacher of the Year for Palo Verde High School. He has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Statucki earned his teaching endorsement in secondary education from the University of Phoenix.

Angelo Pappano, Program Leader, Entertainment Engineering Design, Southwest Career and Technical Academy
Angelo Pappano is currently teaching a four-year Project Lead the Way curriculum, which includes a STEM guitar building project and many programming and automation projects using Arduino microcontrollers focused around the entertainment industry. Pappano opened the first high school entertainment engineering program in August 2009, which was developed in coordination with the University of Nevada and local industry partners. He serves on the Nevada Standards Writing Committee for Engineering Design, Nevada Standards Writing Committee for Mechanical Technology, and Joint Technical Skills Committee for Engineering and Technology. Pappano attended Western Carolina University for Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology before transferring to the University of Akron to study Electrical Engineering.