Career Technical Education

The Career, Technical and Agricultural education experience at Essex Technical High School is comprised of 24 program offerings. The programs are clustered in an Academy Model to better serve students needs. Previously, Essex Tech housed its CTE and Agricultural programs in four academies ( A,B,D,E ). These academies have merged into two academies designated as East & West. Our programs have not changed, just how we cluster our programs as indicated below:


Heidi T. Riccio Ed.D., Director of Career Technical Education – East Academy

Dr. Heidi T. Riccio is joining Essex Technical and Agricultural School District as the East Academy Career Technical Education Director. Before joining Essex Tech, Dr. Riccio was the Principal of Medford Vocational Technical High School in Medford, MA for 4 years. Dr. Riccio was also the Career Technical Education Director for 17 years at Greater Lawrence Technical High School in Andover, MA.

Dr. Riccio’s professional memberships include the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators and The Association of Career Technical Education.
Dr. Riccio earned her undergraduate degree in Hospitality Management from Johnson & Wales in Providence.Dr. Riccio earned a graduate degree in Master of Occupational Education at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, MA, a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from Salem State University in Salem, MA and a Doctorate of Education from NOVA Southeastern University.
Dr. Riccio’s holds licenses and certificates in ServSafe Sanitation and Alcohol Safety.

Kathleen Holman RN, MSN, Director of Career Technical Education – West Academy

HolmanKathleen Holman, Career Technical Education Coordinator for the Life & Natural Sciences and Construction Academies, brings 20 years of experience working in vocational technical education to her role.

Kathleen was the Health Assisting Instructor for four years and School Nurse for thirteen years at North Shore Technical High School prior to becoming an administrator at Essex Tech.  Her nursing experience includes adult and pediatric medicine, surgery, Hematology and Oncology at Madigan Army Medical Center Ft. Lewis Washington (Civil Service) and Naval Hospital San Diego (Active Duty) and Geriatric Nursing experience at skilled nursing facilities on the North Shore.

Kathleen is a Registered Nurse (Massachusetts) and is licensed in Health Assisting, School Nurse, Cooperative Education, and as a Supervisor Director.  Kathleen holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Curry College along with a Master of Science in Nursing/Nursing Education from Salem State University. Kathleen is a member of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) and a Leadership I graduate.


Grade 9 Career Discovery & Exploratory Program:

The Essex Technical High School Grade 9 Career Discovery and Exploratory Program is designed to enhance the students’ experience during his/her first year at Essex Tech. Such an experience peaks the students ‘ awareness of the vast career and technical learning opportunities offered at Essex Technical High School and beyond. The Career Discovery provides students with an opportunity to be intellectually curious as they learn through exposure to all our twenty-four (24) career and technical program fields of study. During the Exploratory Program, Grade 9 students participate in eight (8) career technical programs* for one cycle each to acquire a deeper understanding of the curriculum available to them as Essex Tech students and learn about the career pathways available to them as life-long learners after graduating from Essex Technical High School. Students are fully engaged as active participants in their Exploratory learning experiences to better inform their CTE program placement decisions. The Essex Technical High School Admissions Policy (below), approved by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical District School Committee, further describes the Career Discovery and Exploratory Program.

*Students residing in the district’s 17 member communities are eligible to consider participating in any of the twenty-four (24) career technical programs offered at Essex Technical High School. Grade 9 students residing in communities beyond the district’s 17 member communities are only eligible to consider enrollment in the eight (8) specialized agricultural, natural resources and animal science programs during their tenure as students at Essex Technical High School (Veterinary Science, Equine Science, Companion Animals, Environmental Technology, Natural Resources, Arboriculture, Sustainable Horticulture and Landscaping/Turf Management). For more information see the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Advisory (December 2015) below.


Advisory Committee

Advisory Committees for career/vocational technical education programs play an integral role in the development and implementation of our CTE programs. The committees are composed of a variety of constituents ranging from industry, parents, students, apprenticeships, and board members. The input these members provide are invaluable to the progressing trends of each field of study. Overall, the committees advise, assist, and support CTE programs in order to enhance planning and operation from budgets to cooperative education employment opportunities. Such advice is based on adequate and timely information as to workforce and job development demands or job market trends, technological developments, and other factors affecting the quality of the programs.