Time to Shine for Pickens' Administrator of the Year
Posted on 04/08/2024
Dr. Teina McConnell looks on as a student shows off her graphic design work.

Dr. Teina McConnell finds herself in the spotlight. The Pickens Technical College Executive Director was named Administrator of the Year by the Colorado Association for Career and Technical Administrators. McConnell has spent 28 years in education, advocating for her students, staff and schools. She’s served on state councils, shaping the vision of Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Colorado.

But ask her about the award victory, and she’ll tell you how grateful she is for her opportunities and colleagues along the way. Ask her about her proudest professional moments, and you’ll hear about the Pickens alum who won Apprentice of the Year. Ask her what keeps her motivated, and she’ll praise her staff, which includes the Colorado CTE Teacher of the Year. McConnell is more than happy to accept the spotlight – because then she can shine it on all the fortunate people who have benefited from her hard work.

McConnell worked in retail management and interior design after college, but deep down she knew education was her calling. Listen to her beam over the awards and accreditations Pickens has gained through the years and you’ll be left with no doubt. While accomplishing so much, she stays grateful for the past and motivated for the future. “It’s been a pretty cool journey,” she said. “I got a lot of years left in me, but it’s been a privilege to get here and still be here today.”

Wise Words from the Winner

On Career & Technical Education
According to McConnell, students can have a hard time finding relevance in traditional education. Her strategy? Give the learning context. “If you can do applied academics inside CTE, the relevance is there all of a sudden. I walked into a class one day and a student said, ‘now I know why I need math!’”

On Being the First Female Exec. Director
There’s a wall-of-fame at Pickens featuring portraits of each of the school’s past executive directors. To McConnell, the wall is not only an honor, but a message to her students. “It’s a bunch of seasoned gentlemen and myself. I like the opportunity for students to see visually that this role is not a closed door to anybody. It’s empowering.”

By The Numbers

13 - years at Pickens – all as Executive Director
1st - female Executive Director in Pickens’ 53-year history
4 - times Pickens has been named Best Community College in CO
68 - medals won by Pickens students at 2023 national competitions