Breaking Traditions Award Winners Announced


The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education honored nine Missourians today as state winners of the 2017 Breaking Traditions Awards. The awards honor students, educators and employers for their achievements related to nontraditional career paths. The winners were recognized at a ceremony in Jefferson City.

These are the 2017 award recipients:

  • State Secondary Female Award: Leila Hodge, Web & Computer Programming, South Technical High School, Sunset Hills
  • State Secondary Male Award: Zachary Rector, Health Science, Lake Career and Technical Center, Camdenton
  • State Postsecondary/Adult Female Award: Shannon Holsten, Automotive Technology, State Technical College of Missouri, Linn
  • State Postsecondary/Adult Male Award: David Peters, Practical Nursing, Nevada Regional Technical Center
  • Secondary Spirit Award: Jessica Terry, Auto Collision Repair, Scott Regional Technology Center, Monett
  • Postsecondary/Adult Spirit Award: Jessica Thrower, Welding & Metals Technology, Moberly Area Community College
  • Secondary Educator Award: Deborah Wright, Computer & Networking Technology Instructor, Cape Girardeau Career & Technology Center
  • Postsecondary Educator Award: Tammy Kelley, Department Chair, Industrial Electricity, State Technical College of Missouri, Linn
  • Employer Award: Rusty and Melanie Coats, Big O Tires Missouri/Arkansas, Columbia Area Career Center

“These winners demonstrate passion and commitment for the field of their choice,” said Missouri Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “They set a great example for future generations.”

State and Spirit winners will receive scholarship offers from most Missouri community colleges and from the State Technical College of Missouri. Scholarship amounts and guidelines vary and are set by each school. Each State, Spirit and Regional winner who continues his or her education next fall will receive a $100 scholarship from the Missouri STEM Foundation.

The Breaking Traditions program also recognizes outstanding educators who teach in nontraditional career education programs and employers who are supportive of students’ nontraditional career choices. Nontraditional career paths are in occupations or fields of work in which one gender comprises less than 25 percent of the individuals employed in that field. 

Breaking Traditions supports Missouri’s goal of ensuring that all students graduate ready for success in college and career.