Heather Gottsch, Cherokee FCCLA Adviser, is one of 13 honorees across the nation selected by Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) to receive the 2020-2021 Adviser Mentor Award. FCCLA honored all Adviser Mentor Award recipients during the Hybrid National Leadership Conference, June 27-July 2, 2021, in Nashville, TN.
The FCCLA Adviser Mentor program acknowledges exceptional, experienced Family and Consumer Science (FCS) educators who excel in FCS and FCCLA. These skilled FCS teachers train, assist, and familiarize new FCCLA advisers as they adjust to their new role and responsibilities within FCCLA.
All FCCLA advisers have the opportunity to be recognized as an Adviser Mentor. To achieve this award, advisers must first earn Master Adviser Recognition. Such recognition can be accomplished by devoting two years to new adviser assistance, assuming adult leadership roles in FCCLA, conducting adviser workshops, attending training workshops, and utilizing national and state FCCLA resources.
In seven years as the Cherokee FCCLA Adviser, Gottsch has advised a chapter with over 100 affiliated members. Those members have received numerous awards at the state and national level. There have been 44 members qualify for State STAR Events; six 3rd place winners, eight 2nd place winners, and ten state champions. In addition, the chapter has 6 national gold medalists and one silver medalist. Nineteen different FCCLA Virtual Business Challenge teams have qualified for the National Championship, with two earning 3rd place, five national runner-up teams, and two national championship teams. The chapter also boasts a state officer, 9 district officers, 2 district presidents, and an FCCLA/Kikkoman Japanese Exchange Program scholarship recipient during this 7-year span.
In addition to providing opportunities for students, Gottsch has served in numerous capacities as a leader and mentor to other FCCLA Advisers. Through both unofficial and official mentor roles, she serves as a resource for new and continuing teachers who are looking to grow their own FCCLA chapters or who need advice and resources to use in their family and consumer sciences classroom. Gottsch was named an FCCLA Master Adviser in 2019 and has been selected by her peers three times as teacher of the year.
“Adviser Mentors are crucial to our continued growth at FCCLA,” said Sandy Spavone, Executive Director of FCCLA. “Their knowledge, experience, and devotion to the organization is shared with incoming advisers, who carry out their learned skills throughout the entire program. Our mentors are an instrumental reason we can continue to flourish and evolve.”
FCCLA student success is predominantly due to the guidance, support, and leadership of chapter and state advisers. To serve as an adviser requires an enormous amount of time, energy, and commitment.
Exceptional advisers continuously go above and beyond by staying well informed, connecting students to opportunities and resources, and making significant contributions to FCCLA on the local, state, and national level.