Home > PUM One on One: Angela E. Mike, PPS-CTE Executive Director

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PUM One on One: Angela E. Mike, PPS-CTE Executive Director


Angela E. Mike is the Executive Director of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Division of the Pittsburgh Public School District.  Angela oversees 21 approved Career and Technical Education programs located in six of the high schools and she is responsible for multiple career exploration elective courses at the high school and middle school level.  A district employee for over 22 years, Angela has also served as a CTE Curriculum Development Project Manager, Cosmetology Instructor, Career Development Instructor, and Graduation Project Instructor.  Angela currently serves on the Superintendent’s Cabinet and the Academic Cabinet. Angela earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and graduated summa cum laude. She is a certified vocational instructor as well as a certified Cooperative Education Coordinator.  After teaching for several years, she returned to school to earn advanced certifications in education administration.  She completed coursework to earn both her Supervisor and Director of Vocational Education certifications at IUP, and then furthered her education by earning her Principal Certification at The University of Pittsburgh.  Angela has served on the YouthWorks, Inc. Board, TRWIB Youth Policy Council, Three Rivers Area Labor Committee (Summer Pipeline program), and the PACTA Executive Board.  She has presented at regional and statewide conferences on dual enrollment, CTE pathways, developing industry partnerships, and assessment exam success tools. 

Under Angela’s leadership, the CTE Division has successfully secured grant awards from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Partner for Work, and The American Federation of Teachers/Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers.  She also worked with The Pittsburgh Promise on the pilot initiative to allow CTE students early access to Promise scholarship funds for use in dual enrollment programs (this program has since been extended to all PPS students). 

Angela is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Iota Lamda Sigma (honorary professional society in workforce development).

As a 1988 graduate of Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Cosmetology program (at Westinghouse), Angela Mike is evidence of the positive impact that Career and Technical Education can have on student achievement, and she attributes her quest to be a lifelong learner to her CTE background.  She firmly believes that CTE increases student engagement and retention during high school, and that it expands post-secondary education and employment opportunities.

  (Pictured above, Angela Mike with PPS Superintendent Anthony Hamlet) 

PUM: As the Executive Director of CTE, tell us more about your passion to help PPS students succeed in their future career endeavors before they graduate from the CTE program. Angela: CTE is a great option for students.  I know from personal experience the difference that CTE participation can have on a student’s life and career.  If students graduate with an industry certification, they’ll be better able to enter the workforce and make a higher than average wage.  And now because of the data that’s come out from the Inflection Report about where jobs will be in the future, I’m confident that the work we do in CTE will help students to take advantage of those opportunities.   CTE gives students a great start in qualifying for projected jobs in this region with sustainable wages.  CTE also provides students the opportunity to earn college credits while in high school and to obtain advanced placement status in college.  CTE saves PPS families money and helps PPS students earn money after graduation, which contributes to the community at large.  

PUM: You received a cosmetology license—before you even finished high school and have served as the Executive Director of CTE since 2010, what are you most proud of in terms of your efforts to help grow this program. Angela: During my tenure as Executive Director, we have added Carpentry, M-PAC, E.R.T, and Entertainment Technology to our programs of study.  We’ve added more STEM-based CTE electives including “Mobile Gaming and Apps” and “Aerospace Engineering Flight”.  There’s a technology component to every CTE program and all of our labs contain state-of-the art equipment that mirrors industry standards, so that our students receive training on what’s current in the workforce.  We’ve increased the number of student certifications from 42 in 2010 to 495 in 2016.  We’ve also increased the pass rate on the end of program assessment exam for our students, which is known as the NOCTI exam, by 49%.  

PUM: How are you reaching and recruiting students to participate in the various 15 CTE programs being offered in 6 comprehensive high schools throughout the school district. What mechanisms are in place to help students succeed in the various programs? Angela: We host college and career fairs for PPS students, that provide them with the opportunity to interact with CTE teachers and students, industry representatives in the same fields as our CTE programs, and post-secondary representatives.  Our teachers participate in various recruitment and community outreach activities that create awareness.  We do mailing campaigns and targeted advertising. We have an online virtual tour that allows students and parents the opportunity to learn more about each program and to see what the learning labs look like.  The virtual tour has been very successful in reaching students through a communication vehicle that they utilize often, the Internet.  Through the virtual tour and through the CTE website, parents can submit CTE applications online.  We also use social media to promote CTE events and milestones.

To help students succeed, we have English and Math Integration teachers who work with CTE teachers to infuse needed Literacy and Math skills into the industry-based curriculum – to allow students to not only be more successful in CTE but to apply those skills in their academic classes.  Our CTE Career counselors help students develop soft skills, help them develop electronic portfolios that highlight their work.  They help students maximize their post-secondary marketability. 

PUM: While still in high school, CTE students are earning workforce certifications. This is a huge advantage they will have as they enter the workforce, tell us more about some of the other advantages CTE offers.Angela: CTE students are acquiring 21st century skills which include critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving, communication, technological literacy, financial literacy and leadership.  These skills are necessary for student success in the Information Age. 

PUM: Over 500 high school students are currently enrolled in CTE programs. Students can enroll in CTE programs at their current or home high school or be transported to another nearby school for the CTE program’s three periods. Tell us more about the breakdown of the choices students have through the various programs. How do the students navigate through the various choices being offered? Angela: PPS students have access to all offered CTE programs.  Transportation is provided for students who opt to enroll in a program outside of their feeder pattern.  During the admissions process, our CTE Career Counselors give students more detailed information about scheduling and transportation options.  By providing exposure to CTE through various recruitment activities and other outreach initiatives, students can get a sense of what CTE has to offer.  Students gravitate toward the career path that interests them most.  We are mandated by the state to have students complete a Career Objective Form each year, to make sure that students are on the right track career-wise. 

 PUM: The Career and Technical Education Division recently announced the debut of the news program filmed, produced, edited and hosted by students in CTE’s Entertainment Technology program at Pittsburgh University Prep at Margaret Milliones:  "Expect Great Things TV."   How is that program working out so far and tell us more about how the district implements a new program. Are there any new programs on the horizon that you plan to launch? Angela: The Entertainment Technology program is off to a great start.  Students are acquiring the skills they will need to work in this field after graduation and they are making important industry contacts.  The television program not only allows us to highlight the good that’s going on in our District, but also allows our E.T. students to shine.  The show in and of itself is a great selling point for CTE, as the E.T. students also shine that spotlight on other CTE programs.  Most recently, the students filmed and livestreamed CTE’s 1st Annual “Souper” Bowl Culinary Arts Competition.  This was great way to show audiences what CTE students actually do in the programs. Regarding new programs, we look to the Inflection Report as we consider new offerings.  But we also look at student interest, to help ensure program success.  Right now, our priority is fortifying existing programs, but we do want to keep pace with what our region needs.

PUM: Through CTE students are able to fast track their careers, leaving many of the programs with credentials and post-secondary credits, what about solid job opportunities?  Angela: We’ve had students obtain industry-related jobs while still in the program, we’ve also had students earn valuable college internships and scholarships because of their involvement with CTE.  We’re working with our industry partners to develop a job pipeline for our students after graduation.

PUM: Tell us about some of the student’s success stories. Angela: CTE students are going on to 4-year colleges.  Last year, we had a CTE student who earned his union card while  in high school, and that led to job where he earned almost $20.00/hour.  I am a CTE student success story:  I went  from student to licensed Cosmetologist to Salon Manager to Cosmetology Instructor to Instructional Leader to CTE Executive Director.  I am living proof that CTE  is a true gateway to success.


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