In order to provide focus for business/industry partners and teachers, the Spokane Valley advisory committees are organized generally around career clusters.  With growth, these can be narrowed to more specific occupational areas and collaborations.

These are the Spokane Valley CTE Advisory Council Committees. They meet quarterly or more often depending on their scope of work. To participate in a committee meeting, please contact us and let us know which one is of interest. We are always interested in business member participation.

General Advisory Council (GAC)

This is a group of volunteers who bring together business and education to advise and approve Career and Technical Education programs.

Click here for the GAC minutes.

 Business Representatives 


Paul May, retired Wagstaff executive, General Advisory Council Chair

Paul has spent his career in manufacturing and is devoted to the growth of manufacturing in the Spokane region. With a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from University of Idaho he began his nearly 40 year career as a design engineer and advanced into executive level positions at Wagstaff Inc., in the Spokane Valley.  Paul is passionate about promoting careers in engineering and manufacturing.

He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Washington, has been involved in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, retired as a volunteer firefighter, has been an Advisory Chair for Spokane Community College Machining Technology, was Chairperson of the Manufacturing Roundtable for Greater Spokane Inc,, is the Judge Coordinator for US First Robotics Competition in Eastern Washington, and is the Chair of the Spokane Valley CTE Advisory Council.


Cal Christen, Wagstaffcouncil-cal

Cal has been a machinist for 40 plus years. His career actually started in high school, where as a junior at West Valley he enrolled in metal shop. This was it. He discovered a career that requires the use of your hands and mind to make and build projects. A perfect fit. During his senior year in the class his teacher, Quentin King, informed Cal of the two year machining program offered at Spokane Community College. He started at SCC the fall after graduating from high school. Less than two years later he began his machining career. Cal came back to SCC nine years later to teach the machining program full time. He is currently back at SCC teaching the evening CNC/Machining program.

In his current role at Wagstaff he provides internal machinist training and works to inform students about skilled trades career opportunities. He does this by hosting job shadows, shop tours, and attending career fairs. He is involved with the FIRST Robotics program and for the last two competitions held at West Valley has headed up the shop crew. This team uses their skills and West Valley’s shop to provide repair and modifications for the robots competing beyond what teams are equipped to do in the pits.

Cal serves on this committee because he has a strong passion for manufacturing and the skilled trades and wants to do all he can to promote the numerous great careers available to students in manufacturing.

Tom Holcomb, KAYU Fox 28 tom-holcomb

Currently the Local Sales Manager for KAYU TV FOX 28.  This job entails leading a group of 6 sales people
and 2 support staff in the selling of local television advertising and digital products to help local advertisers reach their marketing goals. Member of the National Association of Broadcasters.  He is involved with the Career and Technical Education committee because he believes that we need to do a better job of preparing the next generation to be ready to enter the workforce with the skills and experience needed to succeed and thrive. He wants to see more students staying in the Spokane market.

“It is important for local business people to take the time to help groom and guide the educational process as we know what the challenges are that we face in finding qualified employees to fill open positions. But more importantly, we need to help identify those future employees that have a real passion for their specific skill sets as that is how brilliant ideas and leaders are created.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the next Bill Gates or Albert Einstein get their start through this program?”


Mike Pearson, retired superintendent and volunteer with Spokane Valley Fire Department

After 31 years in public education, Mike retired in 2008 as Superintendent of Central Valley School District.  During his years in education, Mike was involved in several community organizations that promoted business and education partnerships.  Today, he continues to serve on the Spokane Valley Career and Technical Education Advisory committee and is a Spokane Valley Fire Department Commissioner.

“Serving as a member of the Spokane Valley CTE Advisory committee gives me the opportunity to continue to promote skill training in our high schools that will lead students into careers that provide a living wage, job satisfaction and opportunities for future educational skill enhancement.”





Matt Albright, Providence Health Care

Matt is the Regional Director of Musculoskeletal Services for Providence Health Care and has over 20 years of healthcare and aerospace experience. Providence Health Care includes four hospitals, a skilled nursing facility, home health care and other programs that work together to offer patients a full spectrum of care. Prior to Providence Health Care, Matt was the Director of Northwest MedStar, an accredited critical care transport service with over 168 employees with six base locations covering Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon. Prior to Northwest MedStar, he served with the United States Air Force at Fairchild Air Force Base as a medical officer and Biomedical Sciences Corps executive, overseeing a medical group dedicated to the medical needs of more than 11,000 military service members, retirees and their families. He is a graduate of Washington State University with a master’s in exercise science and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology/pre-medical from the U.S. Air Force Academy. Matt has a passion for health sciences workforce development and is actively involved in a number of local secondary & higher education STEM advisory panels/committees.


School District Representatives/Directors 


Susan Christenson, Career and Technical Education Director, Central Valley School District


Susan is the Director of Career and Technical Education with Central Valley School District. She has been in this role since 2003 and has also served as Director of Technology Services and managed the student information system during her time with the District. She graduated from Eastern Washington University with a BA, BAEd and MS, completing her administrative credential through WSU. Susan is involved with many professional groups including the Washington Association of Career & Technical Education (WA-ACTE), WACTA (Washington Association of Career & Technical Administrators) and local workforce development organizations.

“Career & Technical Education provides the ideal avenues for student learning and application: rigor and relevance, context that enables students to understand WHY they are doing something and payback that is clear and meaningful. CTE supports student preparation for work after high school, for apprenticeships or certification sequences and for post-secondary education. CTE enables this support in collaboration with community and with business partners. I believe that continuously improving Career & Technical Education programs, strong advisory committees and ongoing communication and collaboration between them have the power to change perceptions, build our economy and move us forward locally and beyond.”

Vicki Leifer, Career & Technical Education Director, West Valley School District

Vicki Leifer graduated from the University of Toledo and attended Eastern Washington University to complete her masters degree. She is a member of the Washington Association for Career and Technical Education and the Washington Association of Career and Technical Administrators.  She enjoys spending time with her family on outdoor adventures.  Vicki believes that CTE is a vital component in helping students find their passion, follow their dreams, and provide a competitive advantage for the future. CTE programs provide an excellent pathway to help students discover how their individual skill sets fit into the “puzzle of life” in a meaningful way. Every student has a unique set of interests and skills that can be utilized to improve and drive their education. Vicki is an emphatic believer that CTE courses provide distinct opportunities that can successfully meet the needs of the diverse range of students we are preparing for the future.

Scott Oakshott, Director of Spokane Valley Tech

Scott Oakshott has had a diverse career in teaching and administration with a focus on career and technical education, curriculum development and CTE consulting. He currently serves as the Director of Spokane Valley Tech, the newest Skills Center in Eastern Washington. Scott has been a consultant to over 30 school districts through his business Oakshott Consulting. He is a member of WACTA, an association for career and technical advisors and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

He is involved in the CTE Advisory Council because he believes, “Advisory committees are a vital part of every successful and growing CTE program.  The partnership keeps programs current and fresh.”






Jim Straw, Career and Technical Education Director, Freeman School District Jim Straw - Freeman SD

Jim Straw is currently the Career and Technical Education Director for Freeman School District and Principal at Freeman High School.  His background includes teaching at the elementary, middle and high school levels, serving as Principal at Freeman’s middle and high schools as well as coaching at the middle and high school levels.

Jim believes that Career and Technical Education is a connection for all students to their futures.  Whether a student is planning to enter the workforce, an apprenticeship, or attend college after high school, CTE will help them to develop the skills and habits necessary to be successful in the 21st Century.





Amy Tellinghusen, Career and Technical Education Director, East Valley School District


Amy earned her Bachelor’s degree from Washington State University in Family and Consumer Science Education, and achieved a Masters from Lesley University in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Technology in Education. She has endorsements from Eastern Washington University in Library Science and Diversified Occupations. She enjoys camping, dirt biking, fitness, crafting, and family time. When it comes to CTE, Amy notes “CTE is important to me because it was a major part of my high school career. The CTE courses and student organizations gave me valuable leadership experiences and practical knowledge that I utilize every day. My hope is that I can help other young adults become college and career ready by providing them with a meaningful and rigorous CTE experience at EVSD.”



Funding for this resource was provided in part or whole by The Carl D. Perkins Grant.