DECA Recognizes 2020-2022 Honorary Life Award Recipients

April 23, 2022

Honorary Life Membership is the highest award DECA can bestow on an individual. DECA is pleased to present four recipients of this distinctive and deserving fellowship awarded from 2020 to 2022.

Dr. Brenda Clark | Michigan

Awarded Posthumously in 2020

A lifelong educator, Dr. Brenda Clark, EdD, began her service as a DECA advisor in 1982 and spent nearly 40 years serving as a marketing teacher, school-to-work coordinator, career and technical director, professional development director and an educational association executive.

Dr. Clark not only focused on ensuring her students received high-quality learning opportunities, but she also was a leader in providing professional development to DECA advisors throughout the DECA membership. She was a frequent presenter on professional development topics at regional and international conferences. Dr. Clark served as an event director at DECA’s International Career Development Conference for 10 years and served multiple years on DECA’s Competitive Events Taskforce, providing leadership and direction for DECA’s Competitive Events Program.

In 2015, Dr. Clark began a new opportunity at MBA Research and Curriculum Center in Columbus, OH, working with teachers, districts and state departments from around the country providing professional development to business administration teachers. She served as the organization’s President and CEO beginning in 2018 and led a staff of 20 individuals dedicated to business administration teachers and students with the focus on delivering research-based standards, curricula, instructional resources and assessments.
An innovative leader with a passion for Career and Technical Education, Dr. Clark was an active leader at both the state and international levels in professional and student organizations. Dr. Clark has received numerous awards at the state and international levels and received DECA Inc.’s Outstanding Service Award in 2011.

Mary Peres | New York

Awarded in 2020

Mary Peres has provided over 40 years of dedicated service to DECA at all levels, from chapter advisor to DECA Inc. Board of Directors President. She has never missed a regional or international DECA conference since 1980 when she began as a Marketing Education Coordinator for Oceanside High School in New York. Under her leadership, the chapter grew from 21 members to over 175 members, and she focused on inclusivity for all DECA members.

In 1998, she took on a new role as the New York DECA Chartered Association Advisor, managing the daily operations for the association’s 5,300 members and advisors. Her guidance led to the establishment of a New York DECA Collegiate Association, many new industry partnerships, new competitive event training opportunities for advisors and the continued success of district and state conferences. Under her direction, New York DECA has increased student membership and award recipients.

Mary has selflessly committed her time and energy at the international level by serving as a member of the DECA Inc. Board of Directors from 2017 to 2021, including service in leadership roles such as treasurer and president. Mary has also volunteered in many other roles including as an event director at DECA’s International Career Development Conference and multiple terms on the Competitive Events Taskforce. She was awarded DECA Inc.’s Outstanding Service Award in 2017.

Jacklyn J. Schiller | Minnesota

Awarded in 2020

Jacklyn J. Schiller has spent more than 30 years providing exemplary activities for career and technical students and educators through her leadership as the Minnesota DECA Chartered Association Advisor. She began her involvement with DECA as a collegiate member in 1982 and eventually served as the 1984-1985 National President for the then Delta Epsilon Chi division of DECA. As a competitor, she excelled as a first-place winner at the National Career Development Conference in Retail Merchandising Series and the Entrepreneurship Written Event.

In 1987, she began working for the Minnesota Department of Education as the Executive Director of the High School Division of Minnesota DECA. She became the Chartered Association Advisor soon after in 1992. As the Chartered Association Advisor, she has hosted six Central Region Leadership Conferences and held the position of Chair of the Central Region Board of Governors several times. Jacklyn was awarded the DECA Inc. Outstanding Service Award in 2011.

Currently, she works with educators to serve almost 6,000 CTE students in 200 schools throughout Minnesota, impacting approximately 180,000 members of the CTE community. Jackie continues to strive to improve and enhance DECA while ensuring that DECA’s competitive events align with standards and integrate with curriculum at the highest level. Her service at the international level has included serving on multiple taskforces, serving four terms as a member of the DECA Inc. Board of Directors and providing leadership as the president of the DECA Inc. Board of Directors four times.

Dr. Lynore Levenhagen | Florida

Awarded Posthumously in 2022

Dr. Lynore Levenhagen—“Lev” to those who knew her best—spent 43 years in education, 37 of them at Lyman High School in Altamonte Springs, FL. Coming from a family of educators, she had a passion for helping others and wanted to become a teacher from an early age. To all of her students, she was more than just a teacher. She was a mentor, leader, friend and a comforting presence for the thousands of students who entered her classroom. She was an educator in every sense of the word.

Dr. Levenhagen served Florida DECA for 37 years as a chapter advisor, a member of the Board of Advisors and ultimately as the Executive Director from 2009 to 2021. Under her guidance, Florida DECA nearly doubled in size to over 10,000 members who were given the opportunity to experience all that DECA has to offer. In 2016, Dr. Levenhagen was also an instrumental part of re-starting Florida Collegiate DECA and propelling the association forward. She is a member of the Florida DECA Hall of Fame and has been awarded the Florida DECA Eagles Dare to Achieve Award and Florida DECA Honorary Life Member Award. Dr. Levenhangen served on the DECA Inc. Board of Directors, became a DECA Inc. Certified Trainer and received the DECA Inc. Outstanding Service Award in 2007.

Dr. Levenhagen exemplified leadership in the classroom and throughout all areas of DECA. Her impact will be felt for years to come and her legacy has been etched into the lives of the students, teachers and advisors who had the privilege and pleasure to be a part of her life.


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