SCTC instructor among 7 finalists for 2020 Safety Educator of the Year Award
SIKESTON — Each year, CareerSafe highlights the top safety educators in the country who go above and beyond to teach their students the importance of safety education as not just a tool, but a skill for life.
This year, CareerSafe received 40 nominations of outstanding educators from all over the country. Of those 40 interviewed, the team narrowed down the finalists to seven.
Among the seven finalists for the 2020 Safety Educator of the Year Award was Brent Trankler with the Sikeston Career and Technology Center. Trankler has served as the welding technology instructor with 12 years of teaching experience and nine years of experience in the welding field prior to teaching.
All students must be certified before they can use the equipment in his classroom. is Welding Technology course includes hands-on lab activities with over $450,000 worth of equipment that brings science, technology, engineering and math into focus. Through his two-year program, Trankler provides his students with the proper tools to be career-ready and successful once they complete his courses.
“I have students that go on to work as Boilermakers, Ironworkers, Pipe/Steam Fitters, Sheet Metal Workers, in Manufacturing Systems and many other related careers,” Trankler said. “They are able to take the skills learned through my course and put them to use safely upon graduation. There’s no doubt the CareerSafe OSHA 10 course is a wise investment in my students.”
The other six finalists include the following:
James Buck is a residential wiring instructor at Wayne Technical and Career Center and has been a teacher for 25 years. Buck is more focused on “life learning” and wants his students to be well rounded, not just educated in trade. He teaches soft skills including, resume building, interview skills, how to write professional emails, and incorporates electrical into the lessons. His program is well recognized throughout the school as English teachers base their class curriculum off of his lessons. His students also teach other classes about electrical safety, e.g. teaching Cosmetology students about their tools and plug safety, and this semester his students are rewiring and renovating the school as their class project!
Lana Kelly, a veterinary science instructor at Mid-East Career Centers, was nominated by East Central Representative and a CareerSafe Education Outreach Specialist who wrote: “Lana started the Veterinary Assisting and Animal Care Program at Mid-East CTC in 2016.As the instructor for the program she quickly formed an advisory committee, made up of world-renowned veterinarians and animal care specialists in a variety of fields, to aid her in the future successes of her students’ post-secondary and career pathways. She also understood that industry recognized credentials are a key component to students’ future success and the CareerSafe OSHA 10-Hour General Industry (Agriculture) training course is one of them.”
Dr. Kelly Eichmann, a Health Sciences Instructor Clovis East High School, was nominated by CareerSafe’s Educational Outreach Specialist West Coast Representative who wrote: “Dr. Eichmann is a huge proponent of the CareerSafe OSHA-10 course. She has implemented safety education within her curriculum and instills the value of the OSHA-10 credential in her students. Her students work with various medical facilities throughout central California (hospitals, assisted living homes, and dental offices). They are able to work in these real-life situations, in part, because of their OSHA-10 credentials.”Dr. Eichmann prepares her students by giving them real world experiences, her students must volunteer and do community service at a healthcare facility. She meets with these companies prior to her students working there to ensure that they understand that all of her students are OSHA certified.Over forty-five of her students have been hired onto these companies!
Connie Muschko was nominated by four of her current and previous students at Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School She is the School-to-Career Coordinator and her background includes over thirty-five years of teaching experience as a cosmetology instructor. Muschko has been a huge advocate for CareerSafe, and because of this, their school now uses all that CareerSafe has to offer. Preparing her students to be safe on the job is very important to Muschko, she has held several positions where safety played a large role. In one instance, she was working on her family’s farm and her face was crushed by a piece of equipment. She uses that experience in her teaching to reinforce the importance of workplace and everyday safety.
Daniel Schaeffer, an Electrical Trades Instructor Waldo County Technical Center at, was nominated by his colleague Jeremiah Johnson. Johnson wrote, “Daniel is always on alert to help other programs and units at the school. He has brought proper climbing safety to the school (which did not exist prior to his efforts), he has helped bring about safety clothing, including safety boots and gloves. His program holds safety above all else and he strives to bring that infectious spirit to other programs.” Included in Schaeffer’s classroom curriculum, students do not get safety glasses and cannot work with tools until they take and pass the school’s safety test. He also implements our CareerSafe program into his gradebook, reinforcing the material learned as quiz grades.
Aaron Obermann, a welding technology instructor at Scott Regional Technology Center, was nominated by his colleague Anessa Garner. Garner wrote, “Mr. Obermann brings over 20 years of pipeline construction to his welding classroom.Safety is of the utmost importance in this career field and always on the mind of Mr. Obermann. He treats every day in his classroom as if it were a day on the job for his students. At the beginning of every year, new welding students study all facets of the welding industry and are oriented to the welding classroom’s procedures. Mr. Obermann requires that all students pass their OSHA 10 certification before any student is allowed into the welding lab. He believes that it’s important that they not only understand the safety protocols in the welding shop, but that the OSHA 10 certification is representative of the industry that they are preparing to enter.” Obermann has been dedicated to this industry his entire life, he even graduated from the very program he now teaches. During his interview he said: “I have what I have, and I have done what I have done because of this industry.”
Obermann went on to win the award as 2020 Safety Educator of the Year.