Tim OttMichael K. Woods

Director, CTE TAC of NY

Michael K. Woods, a product of Career and Technical Education, has worked professionally in the CTE field since 2009, but attributes much of his success to Agricultural Science Education courses and FFA membership which formed the foundation of his passion for CTE as a freshman in high school.  Mike earned his B.S. in Agricultural and Extension Education from The Pennsylvania State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and his M.S. in Agricultural and Extension Education from North Carolina University’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. 

After teaching Agricultural Science and advising an FFA program in south-central Pennsylvania, Mike transitioned to the Association for Career and Technical Education® (ACTE) as the State Association Liaison for Region 1 where he gained a vast network of CTE stakeholders throughout the Northeast, which is where he became familiar with the CTE Technical Assistance Center (CTE TAC) of New York.  That connection led to his most-recent professional role, Regional Field Associate for Central and Norther NY. 

Through CTE TAC, Mike has had a core concentration of providing top-notch professional development workshops, seminars, and talks spanning across New York State with a focus on empowering CTE administrators, faculty, and staff in achieving high-quality CTE for all students. 2020 presented unique challenges to educators and administrators across the state of New York. Through his role, CTE TAC increased engagement and collaborative connections among CTE professionals during what might be labeled as some of the most-challenging times in modern day education.  Those collaborative efforts remain at the forefront of Woods’ focus in services provided to the NYS CTE community.

Woods has received many accolades throughout his professional history as a Career and Technical Education instructor and leader.  Most-recently, he was honored with the Harold L. Pride Award by the Massachusetts Vocational Association (MVA) and the Jim Hanneman Memorial Award presented by Region I of ACTE.

Mike has a true inborn fondness and passion for Career and Technical Education, which he is enthusiastic to share throughout the CTE community in New York.

Contact Mike at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 717.979.5561


Constance SpohnConstance Spohn

Assistant Director, CTE TAC of NY

Constance Spohn serves as the Assistant Director, and previously as the Lead Technical Assistance Center Specialist of the CTE TAC. She retired from the position of Director of Special Programs at Fonda-Fultonville Central School, Fonda, NY. Her education includes a B.S. and M.S. in home economics education from the State University College at Oneonta, NY. She holds a Ph. D. in Educational Administration and Policy Studies from the University at Albany, and permanent certification as a teacher and school district administrator.

Dr. Spohn’s work experience includes teaching career and technical education and special education students. Her students have ranged in age from pre-school to adult. She began her career at the Madison Oneida Counties BOCES in Verona , NY where she taught career exploration courses to special education students and child care services to both special and general education students. From there she moved to the SUNY, College of Agriculture and Technology, Cobleskill, NY as a professor in the Early Childhood Division. She served as an academic advisor to approximately 45 students per year. One of her major responsibilities was to supervise students doing their practicum experiences in elementary schools and community agencies serving children and families. At the University at Albany, she worked as the Coordinator of the Greater Capital District Tech Prep Consortium and Director of the Two-Year College Development Center. Both positions required the planning and implementation of professional development activities on a statewide basis. This was followed by employment with the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery County BOCES as director of the Montgomery County 21st Century Community Learning Center Afterschool Program for middle school students. She also served as Interim Elementary Principal at FFCSD. Dr. Spohn has consulted for the US Department of Education, the NYSED, the National School-to-Work Office and the Center for International Leadership in Education. She is an adjunct professor teaching on-line courses for the Vocational Teacher Preparation program at SUNY OSWEGO.

Dr. Spohn has experience in professional organization leadership on local, state and national levels. She has been state president of the NYS Home Economics Teachers Association and the NYS Occupational Education Association and served on the National Tech Prep Network Advisory Board. She has strong skills in grant writing and administration, curriculum and staff development, and most importantly, collaboration.

Contact Constance at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 518.723.2138


Dick JonesDr. Richard (Dick) Jones

Center Specialist, CTE TAC of NY

Dick has varied and extensive education experience, and understands the importance of education in a changing world. Dick has worked with educators in all 50 states developing the commitment to school change and skills necessary to better prepare students for the future. Dick served in several leadership capacities for two decades in the New York State Education Department, responsible for implementing leadership programs, curriculum development, professional development, integration of education technology and school improvement. He has also worked in the private sector developing technology applications for schools. Dick has demonstrated his leadership in the creation of many new education programs. In his four decades as an educator, Dick has shared with hundreds of audiences his passion for learning and vision for the possibilities schools.

He has received his BS. M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University. His experience in Career and Technical Education runs deep. He started his teaching career as a high school agriculture teacher. He served as a National FFA officer. He has authored fourteen books on instruction and leadership. His philosophy is "To be an educator, you must never stop being a student."

 Contact Dick at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Deb Light Headshot


 Deb Light

Operations Director, SPN and Center Specialist, CTE TAC of NY

Deb has over 20 years of experience in education. As Director of Operations for the Successful Practices Network, Deb has vast industry experience including but not limited to nationwide conference planning and execution,  streamlining internal processes to increase productivity, high level internal and external support.

Contact Deb at: 518-723-2051 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Jerry PedinottiJerry Pedinotti

Data Analyst, SPN and Center Specialist, CTE TAC of NY

Gerald has varied and extensive research and data analysis experience, and understands the importance of using data to guide effective decision-making.

Gerald is Vice President of Tipping Point Analytics, a company that specializes in acquisition, collection, management, and analysis of data for K-12 education, including Career and Technical Education. Gerald has designed and managed databases and industry-recognized national research initiatives for the International Center for Leadership in Education and the Successful Practices Network (SPN).

Gerald is currently a research consultant to the International Center, as well as the Technical Assistance Center of NY, and has assisted hundreds of schools with understanding and reporting their performance data, including state and national test scores, student engagement criteria, disciplinary actions, and demographic indicators. Gerald has experience in collaborating with education foundations and organizations to engage business and industry in the education reform process at the state level.

As a Senior Associate for the International Center until 1998, Gerald was project manager for several major research initiatives for the International Center, including the National Essential Skills Study (NESS), the Lexile Framework for Reading Study, and the “We” Survey suite.

Contact Jerry at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 518.723.2044


Gretchen SchwalbachGretchen Schwalbach

Communications Director, SPN and Center Specialist, CTE TAC of NY

Gretchen has nearly a decade of experience in marketing communications, event planning, web design, development and maintenance, and project management for k-12 education services. She currently supports the CTE TAC of NY in the area(s) of project management and communications and brings agility, creativity, and diligence to projects and processes. She holds an MSW from the University at Albany -SUNY and is passionate about equity in education. 

Contact Gretchen: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 518.723.2052