The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced Linda Romano, Health Science Educator of Newburgh Free Academy in Newburgh, New York, as the 2017 ACTE Region I Teacher of the Year. This award recognizes the finest career and technical education teachers at the middle/secondary school level who have demonstrated innovation in the classroom, commitment to their students and dedication to the improvement of CTE in their institutions and communities.

In 2006, Linda Romano started a nurse aide program at Newburgh Free Academy located in an inner-city community along the mid-Hudson area of New York. Thanks to Romano’s unique blend of traditional, modern and out-of-the-box teaching methods, the health science program has grown enrollment from 12 students to 214 students in the span of 11 years, representing a 1688 percent increase. The program growth influenced hiring of two additional faculty members, and graduates have become key members of the local healthcare workforce and community.  Romano commutes over an hour each way to get to work and splits her time between Newburgh and Elant Inc., a local nursing home where her students complete the necessary clinical requirements for CNA certification. While at the facility, Romano works side by side with her students to develop their classroom-taught skills and transform them into professional grade caregivers.

Outside the classroom, Romano serves as School Leadership Team Chairperson and volunteers for school, community, and district-wide improvement projects.  Romano is an active member and sits on the boards of New York State ACTE, the National Consortium for Health Science (NCHSE), and New York State Health Science Educators Association. As a NCHSE Master Teacher of Health Science Education, Romano has advocated for the alignment of Health Science curriculum with common, rigorous standards in every program in New York State, including her own.  She has presented at CTE conferences all over the country and was asked to be a contributing author of Health Science: Concepts and Applications published by Goodheart-Wilcox. On weekends, Romano volunteers at the Newburgh Armory, a local community center, where she teaches math and reading skills through CTE concepts and is currently developing a health science class that will incorporate literacy and numeracy concepts. “This tireless work comes from Ms. Romano’s heart and without fanfare,” says Matteo Doddo, Principal at Newburgh Free Academy. “She truly is dedicated to her students.”

Romano is one of 5 finalists for the 2018 national title. The national winner will be announced at the ACTE Awards Banquet, a dinner and award presentation recognizing the best CTE educators in the country. The event will take place on Wednesday evening, December 6, during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.