PEF Announces 2020-2021 STEM Teaching Fellows

Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Public Education Foundation has announced the selection of teachers from the Southeast Tennessee region who will participate in the ninth cohort of STEM Fellows in the 2020-2021 academic year. The STEM Fellowship is an annual cohort of K-12 educators who engage in an innovative year of professional learning focused on developing and implementing a STEM / STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) mindset. Teachers emerge from the program as instructional experts and community connectors who thrive as teacher leaders, said officials.

“We are delighted to announce next year’s STEM Fellows—34 outstanding teachers who will lead their schools and their districts in efforts to prepare our students for the nearly infinite opportunities in STEM fields,” said Dan Challener, PEF’s president. The fellowship is led by the PEF Innovation Hub in partnership with Hamilton County Schools, the Benwood Foundation, and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network.

Designed to develop teacher leaders who thrive in and out of the classroom, the STEM Fellowship includes professional learning opportunities, a site visit to STEM School Chattanooga to learn from the top STEM school in the state, a series of visits to local partners including the TN Aquarium and Volkswagen, and practice walkthroughs in each school pursuing STEM designation.

“The STEM Fellowship provides an excellent opportunity for teachers to lead from the classroom as they hone their skills and explore innovative practices that change how students engage in learning,” said Michael Stone, PEF’s director of innovative learning. “With the state and TSIN providing a road map for high quality STEM education, we are excited to continue refining the STEM Fellowship to support teachers and schools across Southeast Tennessee.”

Last week, the Tennessee Department of Education and TSIN announced 22 schools who earned Tennessee STEM School Designation for 2020. This honor recognizes schools for their commitment to promote and integrate STEM / STEAM practices for all students. Hamilton County Schools led the way with five of the 22 schools awarded designation this year—the most awardees of any district in the state. Those schools are Harrison Elementary, Hixson Middle, Normal Park Museum Magnet, Red Bank Elementary, and Red Bank High.

“STEM learning is releasing the young problem solver in each of our students to find creative solutions to obstacles in their world,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “The STEM partnership between Hamilton County Schools and the PEF Innovation Hub is providing great teachers and leaders in our schools with the tools to excite the imaginations of those learners to build a better tomorrow.”

Last summer, the HCS Office of Innovation and Choice partnered with the PEF Innovation Hub to provide wrap around supports for school administrators and teacher leaders (through STEM Fellows) that empowered each school to demonstrate their commitment to excellence as they pursued the prestigious designation. As the district sets their sites on more schools earning designation in the coming school year, STEM Fellows will play a critical role to support teacher leaders who are critical to the work.

PEF congratulates members of the 2020-2021 STEM Fellows Cohort.

The STEM Fellows 9.0 Cohort includes:
• Molly Anderson, DuPont Elementary
• Nickey Ankar, Lookout Valley Elementary
• Justin Black, Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts
• Owen Bogolin, Orchard Knob Middle
• Allison Bynum, Charleston Elementary STEAM Academy
• Dana Carmody, Westview Elementary
• Megan Cobb, East Ridge Elementary
• Scott Dent, Sale Creek Middle/High
• Lauren Denton, Red Bank Elementary
• Lisa Dunn, Sale Creek Middle/High
• Nicole Dyer, East Ridge High
• Haley Graham, Westview Elementary
• Lauren Hagan, Hixson Middle
• Quailla Hatcher, Bess T. Shepherd
• Lory Heron, STEM School Chattanooga
• Samantha Jones, Middle Valley Elementary
• Patti Jones, East Lake Academy of Fine Arts
• Jasmine Montgomery, Tyner Academy
• Olivia Myers, Big Ridge Elementary
• Henry Oston, Tyner Academy
• Symone Pryce, Brainerd High
• Tara Rollins, Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts / STEM School Chattanooga
• Karen Schmidt, Big Ridge Elementary
• Angela Shaver, Rhea County High
• Dara Smiley-Lacy, Lookout Valley Elementary
• Julie Spino, McConnell Elementary
• Rhonda Taylor, Soddy Daisy Middle
• Jamika Walker, Spring Creek Elementary
• Nicole Webb, Westview Elementary
• Melody Wilkerson, East Lake Academy of Fine Arts


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