Stacie Yokhana’s students leave her classroom with marketable skills coveted by local manufacturing companies. Yokhana heads the Fashion Design department in Fraser High School’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, where she pioneered the inclusion of industrial sewing. Industrial sewing is a specific skill set that is crucial not just to Michigan’s auto industry, but also to boat and recreational vehicle makers in the area. Yokhana partnered with General Motors (GM), one of the region’s biggest employers, which helped Fraser High outfit her classroom with industrial sewing machines and provided technical training. She spent several weeks working in GM’s industrial sewing shop to become comfortable with the machines and understand the intricate stitching methods. Yokhana’s students visit GM’s Tech Center as they learn to pull together color boards and design head rests for GM vehicles. Southeast Michigan schools have worked with the auto industry, but industrial sewing is an opportunity many students were unaware of before Yokhana’s courses. Her classes are always full, with enrollment growing every year. Students are committed and completion rates are high. GM partners comment how impressed they are with Yokhana’s students, noting that they graduate with similar skills as the company’s on-site adult trainees.
Yokhana is dedicated to her students’ success. She organizes fashion field trips to New York City and coordinates an annual prom fashion show that includes more than 40 student designers and models. Yokhana advises the school’s National Technical Honor Society and supervises the SkillsUSA fashion, future teacher, and FCS (Family and Consumer Sciences) student organizations. For the Regional Fashion Design Advisory Committee, Yokhana organizes meetings of industry and post-secondary partners to ensure students are learning current and relevant skills.
With a decade of experience in online teaching, Yokhana helped lead Fraser through the challenges of pandemic-related school changes, supporting both students and colleagues as they reengineered instruction for social distancing and virtual learning. When a student’s house burned down, Yokhana worked with industry and community partners to collect clothing, food and other necessities for the family. Last year’s graduating class nominated her to give their Senior Speech, a traditional Fraser honor.
Yokhana earned a bachelor’s in secondary education in 2006 from Western Michigan University and a master’s in teaching reading and language arts in 2009 from Oakland University. In 2013, she received a certificate in online teaching and learning from Endicott College.
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