OKLAHOMA CITY – Senate Appropriations Chair Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, said the entire state should be proud after Amanda English, a former police chief who is now an educator at Metro Tech in Oklahoma City, was named National Teacher of the Year for 2021 by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).
“CareerTech is one of Oklahoma’s crown jewels, helping our state meet industry demands for a well-educated workforce and creating a better future for their graduates,” Thompson said. “Our governor has been pushing for Oklahoma to be a Top Ten State. I think it’s wonderful that one of our educators at CareerTech is not just top in the state, not just top in the region, but top in the nation.”
English spent 22 years in law enforcement as a patrol officer, eventually becoming Police Chief of Forest Park before she decided to take her experience to the classroom to help prepare the next generation of officers.
“I think when you are in an industry and have achieved your goals, giving back is the right thing to do. My passion was with inner-city kids. I served on an advisory board at Metro Tech when I was in law enforcement and saw some of the barriers they faced. I was excited to get in there, be a part of educating the students and helping them to succeed,” said English, noting many of her former students have gone on to have successful careers in law enforcement. “Not only does it change the student, it changes the entire family and the community around them.”
English teaches high school students as well as adults who hope to pursue careers in law enforcement, and she’s been working with legislators to better inform them about the opportunities such programs can provide. Thompson said utilizing the resources of CareerTech and the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) together, Oklahoma has the opportunity to standardize police training in all communities.
“Right now, many small departments hire first, then send their employees to CLEET for extended periods and at their community’s expense. By utilizing local CareerTechs, a person interested in law enforcement has access to federal grants and loan programs that can not only give them the training they need to begin working in that department, but often the grants will cover tuition plus additional equipment they’ll need, such as bullet-proof vests, which would be a huge benefit to small departments strapped for cash,” Thompson said. “This will help our efforts to improve public safety, help with costs, and create better opportunities for countless Oklahomans in every part of the state to pursue a career in law enforcement.”
Thompson said those efforts began last session and will continue when lawmakers convene in February. English said their work is particularly important to rural communities.
“The development of our programs at Metro Tech is helping fill a critical need, particularly in small departments,” English said. “It’s so valuable to have legislators like Senator Thompson who are really interested in these efforts. We’re ecstatic to be involved with the Legislature in expanding the availability of this resource.”
For more information, contact: Sen. Roger Thompson at 405-521-5588 or email Roger.Thompson@oksenate.gov