High school trucking program instructor Dave Dein advances toward Teacher of the Year honors

California's Patterson High School is the home base of Dave Dein and his well-known, in some ways pioneering, CDL truck driving instruction program for high school students.

Dein was recently honored as Teacher of the Year by the California chapter of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) for his work teaching and promoting the trucking profession to Patterson students. Dein's influence extends beyond just his local area, too. Since the 2017 start of the high-school trucking program as what might be the first such non-vocational-school program in the country, Dein developed model curricula being adopted and replicated elsewhere around the country

Dein went on to advance in ACTE's Western region in the Teacher of the Year competition, and now will be one of five teachers competing for the national Teacher of the Year title. The program concludes in early December at the ACTE Vision Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

“Being chosen as the 2025 California ACTE Teacher of the Year was such an honor,” said Dein. “As I was presented with the award at this year’s Educating for Careers Conference in Sacramento, it became extremely evident that it was covered with the fingerprints of those who greatly impacted me and allowed me to stand here on this stage. I share this award with all those who have made a lasting imprint on my life.”

Dave Dein of Patterson High School with students during Wreaths Across AmericaDein's work with students sometimes extends beyond the classroom into the cultural touchstones around the wider trucking world. Here Dein (left) is shown in 2021 with then-current and other former students honoring Dein's father, Philip Dein, and other veterans at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery during that year's Wreaths Across America event. Read the story around the event via this link.

Dein’s gift and passion for sharing his love of the road has inspired many to take up the work of trucking. Three years ago, Dein hopped back into a truck to raise money for the Next Generation in Trucking Association nonprofit he co-founded. In addition to developing model curricula mentioned above, the nonprofit also awards scholarships to students looking to attend truck driving schools across the country, and works with schools to create and implement trucking programs like the one at Patterson High School.

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Dein worked one summer for Morning Star Trucking, a company he drove for in the 1990s to pay for college, to raise money for Next Generation in Trucking. When Morning Star learned that he would be donating his salary to the nonprofit, they decided to match his earnings and make a donation, too.

Before that, Dein spent 10 years as a summer instructor for Faith Logistics, a nonprofit through which he worked with ex-inmates in their efforts to obtain a CDL and job placement.

Dein started Patterson High School’s program seven years ago now, and made it one of the nation’s first high school truck driving programs.

“Dave Dein has worked tirelessly to train the next generation of America’s commercial drivers,” said Mark Allen, president and CEO of the International Foodservice Distributors Association. “This is a well-deserved recognition for Dave and his vision for America’s commercial drivers.”

[Related: Trucking's next generation engages with Wreaths Across America -- a quiet event far from the hoopla in D.C.]

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