Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Vo-Tech School Board Names Benson Director

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Vo-Tech School Board Names Benson Director

Article excerpt

Ann Benson, who has served as interim director of the state Department of Vocational-Technical Education, now has the job for good.

The 12-member vo-tech school board voted unanimously to make Benson the director.

She becomes the first woman chosen to head the vo-tech system, which has 459,684 students. And for the first time, two of the state's three top education posts are held by women. The other two top educators are state Superintendent Sandy Garrett and higher education Chancellor Hans Brisch. Benson, 53, has been interim director since January when longtime director Roy Peters resigned to take a business association job in Tulsa. The other finalist for the $92,000-per-year position was Greg Pierce, superintendent of the Pontotoc Technology Center in Ada. Benson said she would encourage all state vo-tech centers to change their names to technology centers. "We need to change our image," she said. "Some people think of a vo-tech at a lower level than other types of education. They need to understand that technology is at the heart of our instruction, and we need to be recognized that way." The vo-tech system has 29 vo-tech districts with 54 campuses statewide. It also has skills centers at 13 Oklahoma prisons and at three juvenile detention centers. Before she was named interim director, Benson served 14 years as the system's assistant state director for educational services. Energy Williams has promoted four of its human resources vice presidents to senior vice president positions. Michael P. Johnson was promoted to senior vice president, human resources, for the corporation. He reports directly to Keith Bailey, Williams' chairman, president and chief executive officer. Johnson joined Williams in December. William R. Burton was promoted to senior vice president, human resources, for Williams Gas Pipeline in Houston. Burton joined Williams in 1978 has been vice president, human resources, for the group since 1997. Gerald L. Carson was promoted to senior vice president, human resources, for Williams Communications Group in Tulsa. Carson joined Williams in 1986 and has been the group's vice president, human resources, since 1997. …

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