Celebrating CAWEE's 50th Anniversary
Bridging School to Career


CAWEE President 2001-2002

John Pierson


What were the challenges you faced as a member of and as president of CAWEE?

My greatest challenge was keeping the class going while working to enlarge the entire program within Will C. Wood high school. My first year began with two class periods of OWE along with one class devoted to makeup, giving me three OWE along with 2 periods of Metal Shop. Within 2 school years, I had enlarged the OWE program to a full teaching schedule, five classes per week (4 of the 5 periods were devoted to the students, with 1 period for makeup for a class missed). My next challenge was to keep the program going even in the face of opposition from some of my teaching associates. Enlisting the support of the English and Math Department Chairs, we created a Career Day for all students. Through special scheduling, 2 periods that day were available to the entire student body to listen to presentations by their choice of 2 speakers each representing a different career. We were able to present about 80 different careers each year. As usual, there were teachers who thought it was a waste of time. Fortunately, our Superintendent and Principal thought it was a good program. When the school was evaluated by WASC, they were impressed with the program.

What interesting memories do you have of your CAWEE experiences at conferences, meetings, etc?

Becoming president of CAWEE was a lot of fun. I especially enjoyed having the opportunity to meet and work with so many great people. My most memorable CAWEE conference was when I was able to bring a group of union apprenticeship coordinators and a number of my students to the conference. We made available to the CAWEE attendees videos that had been produced through a coordinated effort between the apprenticeship coordinators, my school’s video instructor and 3 of his students who were also my students. These 3 students filmed and edited a video of apprenticeship classes. Our hope was that other CAWEE members could use these videos in their classes.

What have you been doing since leaving CAWEE?

Since leaving CAWEE, I have retired from teaching, and have been able to become more involved with raising purebred Beefmaster cattle. Both my wife and I have become very involved in the national association, Beefmaster Breeders United. I served on the board of directors for 9 years and served on many of the organization’s committees. Through this involvement I was able to travel to Thailand and Nicaragua. I have also been active in both the Solano County Farm Bureau, and the California Farm Bureau Federation, serving as a State Director allowing me to interact with state legislators and as well as visiting with members of Congress in Washington, D.C. All in all, my retirement has been exciting as well as educational.