Veteran Great Oaks Career Campuses educator Russ Crosthwaite has been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the career-technical student organization SkillsUSA Ohio.  Crosthwaite, who is currently a Teaching and Learning Coordinator, has helped thousands of Great Oaks students develop professionally through SkillsUSA Ohio since 1992.

Crosthwaite spent nearly two decades as a contractor on large construction projects, when a faculty member at Wright State University suggested he consider teaching.  “I was already coaching and enjoyed motivating, teaching and watching players develop and grow in athletics,” he said. “I could see how I would be I using those same skills to help train and develop young people for a career in the welding manufacturing area.”


He joined Great Oaks in 1992 as a welding instructor at Diamond Oaks Career Campus.  “I quickly realized how vitally important it is for Instructors to possess and model pride and ownership in every aspect of classroom management and instruction. Daily details–attendance, uniform, respectful behavior–and proper practice of lab skills created pride and a sense of accomplishment with students. Motivating young people, modeling professional work ethic and teaching trade skills became by passion and purpose.”


He became involved with SkillsUSA during his first year at Diamond Oaks.  For Great Oaks, he worked directly with students at the campus and district level, and currently coordinates regional and state competition for SkillsUSA Ohio.  He also joined the SkillsUSA Board of Directors through his involvement with the Ohio Trade and Industrial Educational Supervisors’ Association (OTIESA).  “As part of my role as OTIESA President Elect, then President, I was involved in planning and oversight of the SkillsUSA Southwest Regional Competitions and as a member of the SkillsUSA Board of Directors.” Even after his term as OTIESA President, he continued on the SkillsUSA board for ten more years.

“I believe in SkillsUSA’s mission to empower its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens, said Crosthwaite.  “The daily practice of SkillsUSA within our programs locally and at the regional, state and national level will only improve the quality of our students and our skilled workforce.”

Hundreds of Great Oaks students in machining, cosmetology, law enforcement, automotive technology, and other career programs participate in SkillsUSA local and regional activities each year, and typically about two dozen qualify for state or national competition.

More than 32,000 Ohio students are members of SkillsUSA.