Mount Pleasant High School Journalism teacher John Whitten has been named the Area 3 Career and Technical Association of Texas (CTAT) Teacher of the Year. This award recognizes the finest career and technical teachers at the middle and secondary school level who have demonstrated innovation in the classroom, commitment to their students, and dedication to the improvement of Career and Technical Education (CTE) in their institutions and communities.

Whitten has taught at MPHS for the past six years. During that time he has taught multiple courses such as Commercial Photography, Newspaper, Yearbook, Principles of Arts, Audio/Video Technology, and Digital Interactive Media. His students have produced the MPHS yearbook, The Arrowhead, the campus newspaper, Tiger Talk, and the campus video announcements, Tiger Network Television. Prior to coming to MPHS, Whitten taught at Pittsburg ISD for seven years. Before becoming a teacher, he worked in the newspaper industry for seventeen years, twelve as a sports editor and five as managing editor for the Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas with a major in Journalism and a minor in Political Science.

In addition to teaching, Whitten has also served as a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) advisor for six years. During the last three years, since he took over as lead advisor, MPHS has had 20 students advance to Nationals due to their hard work and desire to reach new heights. He has also sponsored the UIL journalism team and was fortunate enough to have a student become the first MPHS journalism student to advance to state and earn a UIL State medal last year.

“I was very humbled and honored to have been chosen CTAT Teacher of the Year for Area 3 from a strong pool of candidates,” said Whitten. “I am fortunate to work with a district that provides so much support for the CTE program. We have awesome leadership from CTE Director Karl Whitehurst, and I work with the greatest CTE department in Texas. The CTE program at MPHS is filled with dedicated educators and support personnel who impact students on a daily basis.”

Whitten continued, “Along with working with great educators, I get to come work every day and hopefully make a positive impact on the lives of students. Along with giving students the tools they need to succeed in my class, my goal is to develop positive relationships with my students and know that I care about them. I have been so blessed since joining MPHS. I can’t imagine working for any other district.”

The CTAT Area Teachers of the Year will go through an interview process with the awards committee and final decisions will be announced at the CTAT summer conference in July.

Photo: L to R—MPHS CTE Director, Karl Whitehurst, and Area 3 CTAT Teacher of the Year, John Whitten