Nik Butenhoff

Director of Career and Technical Education, Rockford Public Schools 205
Chair, Alignment Rockford’s Pathways A-Team
Chair, Alignment Rockford’s Academy Expo A-Team
Alignment Rockford Operating Board Member


Bio and Professional Experience

I came to Rockford to be a part of the career academy implementation in the high schools and was hired three years ago to be the academy coach at East High School.  I served in that position for about two and half years and this past November I took an administrative position with the district as the Director of Career and Technical Education.

Tell us about your new role as the Director of Career and Technical Education and how it will serve Rockford Public School students?

My goal is to provide support to the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs by working with the CTE teachers and the career academy coaches as they implement curriculum and engage the community. I think the CTE programs are so important in the success of our academies and the pathways they provide our students to college and career readiness.  I will work to align the curriculum for the CTE programs within our district and ensure that they provide work based learning experiences that will prepare our students for life after high school. 

As a member of the Alignment Rockford Operating Board, you recently participated in a board retreat where members of the Governing and Operating Boards discussed 2015 outcomes and 2016 strategy; was there anything that came out of that retreat that surprised you or that you feel is critical in focusing on this year’s efforts?

One of the things that came out of the retreat was a goal to provide support to our high schools as they work to achieve all of the National Standards of Practice (NSOP) for career academies in hopes that all of the district’s academies one day gain ‘model status’. I think it is so amazing to have an organization like Alignment Rockford that is so supportive of the goals of our high schools.

In reflecting on the progress of Alignment’s efforts over the years, can you share your most rewarding/memorable experience? 

As I reflect back on the three years that I have been in the district and been a part of Alignment Rockford I am so impressed with the adaptive nature Alignment Rockford has.  The goal of Alignment Rockford is support Rockford Public Schools and in such a short time the district has changed so much.  I think everyone involved with Alignment Rockford should not only be proud of the work they have done to support our schools, but their willingness to adapt and change so that the organization can best meet the district’s needs. 

As far as the most memorable experience I have to mention the first Academy Expo that I was a part of three years ago.  I remember watching one of our industry experts interact with a student and thinking how special that moment was.  I think it was that moment when I really knew that Rockford was definitely on to something with the academies!

What would you like to see come out of Alignment Rockford and it’s teams in this new year, and how do you hope your leadership can help guide those efforts? 

I hope we can continue to be innovative in how we engage the community and connect them to our teachers and students.  I am excited to be a part of teams that support the academies and their pursuit of model status.  I hope that the work I do helps engage students in school and motivates them to be successful throughout their high school experience.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I just want to say everyone who is a part of the work that Alignment Rockford does deserves a big HIGH-FIVE! Thank you to everyone who has been a part of Alignment Rockford.  We have achieved so much already and I am excited to see what else we can do to continue to improve and support our schools.