Porter County Career and Technical Education takes pride in our teaching staff and have a number of instructors who have graduated from our programs themselves. They bring a great deal of knowledge and experience from their respective careers and want to give back to their community. We invite you to get to know our teachers, their training, credentials and experience as well as their programs, and locations.

AUDRA PETERSON

DIRECTOR
(219) 531-3170 ext. 8225 | [email protected]

Mrs. Peterson started her career as a Certified Dental Assistant/Expanded Functions Dental Auxiliary working in private practice after receiving her training at IUN. She went on to finish her Associates Degree as well from IUN. Mrs. Peterson began teaching as an adjunct professor at IUN in Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene and furthered her education at IUPUI in Health Sciences Education. In addition to teaching at IUN for 8 years, she taught at Porter County Career Center and was instrumental in helping to start the Dental Health Careers Program. She then taught at Portage HS when the program moved there. She continued her education through Indiana State University in School Administration, her Director of CTE Licensure with Ball State University and then returned to Indiana State University to complete her EdS.

She has served as a CTE Director in Lake, LaPorte and Porter Counties. She has received honors with the School City of Hammond as Administrator of the Year, Director of the Year in Indiana, Inspiring Women of LaPorte County, and the Society of Innovators. She currently serves on the Indiana Association of Career and Technical Education Districts Executive Board, Chairs the Workplace Specialist Advisory Committee for Indiana, works with the Health Sciences Education Praxis Advisory Committee and is a Member of the American and Indiana Associations of Career and Technical Education.

She has been in education for 31 years and worked concurrently in the dental health field for 8 years. She has always felt she had the best of both worlds when it came to her career, she loved dentistry and she loved turning students on to their passion in careers. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, canning, cooking, baking, making candies, crafting, working at her property and watching her son play college baseball. She also enjoys being with her family including her husband Glenn, her two older sons and their wives and her new granddaughter!

CHAD FRANKS

PRINCIPAL
(219) 531-3170 ext. 8218 | [email protected]

Mr. Franks received his BS in Elementary Education and Special Education from Ball State University and his MSEd from Purdue University in Educational Administration. This is his first year at the career center, but has spent 20 years in education. He is a member of the Indiana Association of School Principals, Indiana Association of Career and Technical Education Districts and the ASCD. He believes that relationship building with his students has made him the educator he is. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and their dogs. He enjoys being outside and he loves to make people laugh and smile.

KELLI ELLIS

STUDENT SUPPORT COORDINATOR
(219) 531-3170 ext. 8232 | [email protected]

Mrs. Ellis has been working with Porter County CTE for 24 years. She received her BSW from Ball State University and is a Licensed Social Worker and LAC. She notes that working for the past 24 years in CTE has taught her what is important in the workplace. You need to be flexible, look for the positive and always be willing to try new ideas. If you can become comfortable with these three things you will go far. In her spare time, Mrs. Ellis enjoys vacationing with her family. They love to go to Disney World or any Disney destination! They enjoy going to any location where there is water. They love the ocean and enjoy learning new cultures. She has personally been to 7 countries! When home she loves to garden and can get lost in a good book.

KATE SORENSEN

STUDENT SUPPORT COORDINATOR
(219) 531-3170 ext. 8241 | [email protected]

Mrs. Sorensen is a LCSW and received her BS in Sociology from Purdue University Calumet and completed her Master’s of Social Work at Indiana University Northwest. Prior to working with our CTE students she world as a juvenile probation officer, as a community mental health therapist and a residential adolescent therapist. She has also been a part of the National Association of School Social Workers. She enjoys spending her free time with her kids and her family. She likes to read, walk and relax when at home.

DEBBIE HEITMANN

COUNSELOR
(219) 531-3170 ext. 8224 | [email protected]

Mrs. Heitmann has been involved in education for almost 48 years as a teacher and counselor. She served as a journalism teacher and then counselor at Portage High School for 36 years. She completed her studies at Indiana University and Purdue University Calumet. She enjoys helping students, parents, and staff members.  She values family, friendships, and relationships with co-workers. In her spare time, she likes to be outside in the sunshine, walk, go on adventures with her friends, eat milk chocolate, do crossword puzzles, read, and bake. Her idea of heaven is a summer afternoon in the shade on her swing with a good book, magazine, or crossword puzzle.