(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The CATEC Board today announced the appointments of Dr. Daphne Keiser as strategic planning officer and Carl Kiehn as director of the technical education center, effective July 1. 

Dr. Keiser comes to CATEC from her position as principal of Clark Elementary; she has worked in Charlottesville City Schools since 2003. Previously, she was principal at Burnley-Moran Elementary in Charlottesville, where in 2006 she won the Milken Educator Award, a national program that recognizes educational excellence and leadership. 

Dr. Keiser earned her undergraduate degree from Virginia State University and her graduate degrees from the University of Virginia. An article written by Dr. Keiser and her administrative team at Clark recently appeared in American School Board Journal, outlining their successful path to improving student achievement at Clark School. 

Dr. Keiser has collaborated with community businesses and nonprofits to support innovative in-school and after-school programming. She also has been successful in earning grants, most recently a $187,000 21st Century Learning Center grant from the Virginia Department of Education. 

“I’m eager to begin work at CATEC,” noted Keiser. “In my many years and roles with Charlottesville City Schools, I’ve seen the impact of the program and its partnerships with the community. Community partnership has been important at every school I’ve served, and I’m eager to expand the already-strong partnerships that are in place at CATEC.”

Kiehn has been an assistant principal at Albemarle High School since 2001, where his responsibilities have included serving as the school’s liaison to CATEC. He holds an undergraduate degree in Geology from Adams State University in Colorado and a Master’s in Secondary Education from the same school. His professional background includes working for the U.S. Geological Survey and for American Mine Services prior to becoming a science teacher at both the middle and high school levels. 

“I am excited to have the opportunity to work with a highly talented staff at CATEC and to help expand the wonderful program and career opportunities they offer to students. My liaison role with CATEC over several years will enable me to hit the ground running, especially in developing ever stronger relationships with local high schools, PVCC, and our business community,” he said. 

“Both Dr. Keiser and Mr. Kiehn bring long term experience within the Charlottesville and Albemarle communities, and their skills sets and community history will be invaluable assets to CATEC,” noted Leah Puryear, chair of the CATEC Board. 

CATEC offers career and technical education tracks to approximately 250 students in Albemarle County Public Schools, Charlottesville City Schools, and other area high schools. CATEC is guided by a 2014 strategic plan that calls for partnerships and alignment with PVCC, four-year institutions, and employers, particularly in the areas of customer service, skilled trades, manufacturing and information technology, healthcare, and early childhood education. 

The program recently announced the opening of a partnership with Cisco Systems and PVCC that will allow students to graduate with IT certificates and college credit as part of CATEC’s Information & Engineering Technology Academy. CATEC’s Health and Medical Academy offers training and college credits in the areas of nursing, pharmacy, dental, and emergency medicine through partnerships with PVCC, University of Virginia Health System, Germanna Community College, and local businesses. Other CATEC programs include Auto Body Technology, Auto Service Technician, Building Trades, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Electrician, Firefighting, Music Industry Technology, and an exploratory curriculum. 

Catherine Lee, who presently serves as strategic planning & workforce development officer at CATEC, will consult with CATEC on the new partnership with Cisco Systems and will be involved with grant writing and project work for both systems. Craig Smith, the school’s current dean, will become an assistant principal at Albemarle High School. 

“We’re pleased with the progress the program has made in implementing its strategic plan,” concluded Puryear. “We thank Ms. Lee and Mr. Smith for their leadership in building partnerships such as the one with Cisco Systems, and we are excited to have the leadership of Dr. Keiser and Mr. Kiehn to build on this good foundation,” she added.