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TCTC Teacher Receives Highest State Honor | News, Sports, Jobs

CHAMPION – Jill Woods of Southington, dental assisting instructor at Trumbull Career and Technical Center, was named this summer 2022 “Outstanding Teacher of the Year in Technical Education for a New Career.”

Woods was among several educators and administrators involved in career and technical education from across the state to receive the recognition that was bestowed at the Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education in July in Columbus.

The recipients were selected by their peers.

“I am grateful to have received this award on behalf of TCTC. It’s an amazing school.” Woods said.

Woods teaches the dental assisting program at the TCTC. She graduated from the career center of the former Diversified Health Occupations program and returned to teaching after more than 20 years in local dental practices.

Although other career centers offer dental assisting programs, the program was new to TCTC when Woods was hired in 2017. Previously, she was a dental assistant from 1991, then worked as an office manager at a root canal endodontist specialist office.

Woods said the award recognizes new educators with five or fewer years of service.

Paula Baco, director of TCTC who nominated Woods for the award, said the lab was an empty room when Woods began collaborating with other instructors in the state.

“Over the past five school years, she has built a successful program with full enrollment,” Bako said.

Baco said Woods’ relationships with dental offices, Youngstown State University and the community have been invaluable to the success of his program.

“She partners with several hygienists and dentists who come to the TCTC to co-teach classes and assess students during the dental x-ray course,” Bako said.

Every year since his first senior class of 2019, Woods has had students work at local dental practices, adhering to on-the-job learning hours.

“She has established a strong partnership with Youngstown State University, where TCTC students have the opportunity to assist student hygienists with their clinical exams and dental hygiene counseling,” Bako said.

Baco said Woods’ commitment to the community while providing his students with the opportunity to practice their skills is “unprecedented.”

Woods and her students partner with the Early Childhood Education Program, a local elementary school, and two area preschools and provide preschool and first-grade children with a tour and training on the proper brushing and flossing and what to expect from a dentist.

The students also partnered with a local dental practice last November to provide free care to veterans on Veterans Day. The students worked as office assistants that day and saw 30 veterans.

Woods, who is a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve, said she wishes she could provide the service to veterans as a way to give back.

“It’s a good opportunity for students to have hands-on practice,” she said.

Woods and his students worked this year to organize a free dental health clinic called TCTC Dental Day for 18 TCTC students. She arranged for four hygienists to offer cleanings under the direction of a dentist who volunteered his time. TCTC students did the x-rays and served as assistants for the day.

“Woods is passionate about her program and cares deeply about her students and their success, which makes her an exceptional new CTE educator,” Bako said.

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