Career Technical and Agricultural Education

The Career Technical and Agricultural Education experience at Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School is comprised of 25 program offerings. These programs are divided into two academies to better serve students needs.

Donald Ducharme, Director of Career Technical Education – East Academy Programs

Don Ducharme brings 15 years of experience with him from Greater Lowell Technical High School. Don began as a masonry instructor where he taught Freshman Exploratory, Masonry Related and Sophomore Shop for seven years.

Don has spent the last eight years as the Transportation and Manufacturing Cluster Chairperson overseeing Automotive Technology, Automotive Collision, Machine Technology, Metal Fabrication and Joining, Electronics, CAD, and Engineering.

Mr. Ducharme is a graduate of UMass Lowell with a BS in Medical Technology.  He also holds a Master’s degree in Education Administration from American International College.  Don is licensed as a Supervisor Director (9-14), as well as Vocational Assistant Superintendent/Superintendent-Director.




Jill Sawyer, Director of Career Technical Education – West Academy

Jill Sawyer joins the Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School Team bringing a widespread background in guidance and career technical education.

In her prior role at Medford Vocational Technical High School as the Associate Director/Assistant Principal, she assisted in all aspects of safety planning and created an in-house suspension model.  Further, Jill assisted in opening 9 new Chapter 74 programs and increased PAC memberships for the CTE programs. She was responsible for Perkins state reporting and improvement plans, assisted in the rewriting of the student handbook to improve progressive discipline for students and also assisted in writing numerous competitive grants.  

Most recently, Jill was responsible for all Cooperative Education in Medford and has an OSHA General Industry Train the Trainer certification.

Jill holds a Master of School Counseling from Suffolk University and completed the Principal Leadership Program through the Northeast Consortium for Staff Development.


Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School is an inclusive school where diversities of all types, including learning differences, are respected and embraced. We recognize that all students have individual learning needs. Our instruction is designed to provide all learners with access to our curricula. Our District Curriculum Accommodation Plan (DCAP) describes accommodations that are available for all students.

Grade 9 Career Discovery & Exploratory Program:

The Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School Grade 9 Career Discovery and Exploratory Program is designed to enhance the students’ experience during his/her first year. Such an experience peaks the students ‘ awareness of the vast career and technical learning opportunities offered at Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School and beyond. The Career Discovery provides students with an opportunity to be intellectually curious as they learn through exposure to all our twenty-four (24) career and technical program fields of study. During the Exploratory Program, Grade 9 students participate in eight (8) career technical programs* for one cycle each to acquire a deeper understanding of the curriculum available to them as students and learn about the career pathways available to them as life-long learners after graduating from Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School. Students are fully engaged as active participants in their Exploratory learning experiences to better inform their CTE program placement decisions. The Admissions Policy approved by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical District School Committee further describes the Career Discovery and Exploratory Program.

*Students residing in the district’s 17 member communities are eligible to consider participating in any of the twenty-four (24) career technical programs offered at Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School. Grade 9 students residing in communities beyond the district’s 17 member communities are only eligible to consider enrollment in the eight (8) specialized agricultural, natural resources and animal science programs during their tenure as students at Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School (Veterinary Science, Equine Science, Companion Animals, Environmental Technology, Natural Resources, Arboriculture, Sustainable Horticulture and Landscaping/Turf Management). For more information see the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Advisory (December 2015) below.

Advisory Committee

Advisory Committees for career/vocational technical education programs play an integral role in the development and implementation of our CTE programs. The committees are composed of a variety of constituents ranging from industry, parents, students, apprenticeships, and board members. The input these members provide are invaluable to the progressing trends of each field of study. Overall, the committees advise, assist, and support CTE programs in order to enhance planning and operation from budgets to cooperative education employment opportunities. Such advice is based on adequate and timely information as to workforce and job development demands or job market trends, technological developments, and other factors affecting the quality of the programs.