DALLAS, Sept. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Texas Instruments (TI) (NASDAQ: TXN), Foundation presented its Innovations in STEM Teaching Awards yesterday to 18 teachers from six local school districts during a ceremony at TI's Dallas headquarters. This year, the program was expanded to include teachers from the Garland and Lancaster independent school districts (ISDs) along with those from the Dallas, Mesquite, Plano and Richardson ISDs.
The awards program, now in its ninth year, honors local secondary math and science teachers who consistently demonstrate quality instruction and build student achievement in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects. Each honoree receives $10,000, of which $5,000 is directly awarded to the teacher. The other $5,000 is to be used at his or her discretion for professional development or instructional technology. The grants are awarded through the independent foundations that support each district.
To date, the TI Foundation has invested more than $1 million in the STEM Awards to recognize and help retain 122 excellent teachers in North Texas school districts.
"These teachers are true STEM champions, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to honor them," said Ann Pomykal, TI Foundation director of major education gifts. "The work they do is essential to preparing future innovators, discoverers and explorers."
"A key strategy to improving student achievement in math and science is teacher effectiveness. That is why we focus our support on this area, with a special emphasis on reaching girls and minorities who are underrepresented in STEM careers," she said. "As STEM-related jobs become a larger pillar of the U.S. economy, we rely on teachers like those we are honoring today to make STEM subjects interesting and accessible to all students."
Principals nominate teachers for the STEM awards based on criteria, such as demonstrating and documenting teaching effectiveness, establishing classroom innovation, participating in education activities outside the classroom, and encouraging curiosity and increasing interest in STEM subjects among students. Teams within each district review the applications and make classroom observations. After a detailed selection process, the winners were announced.
The 2015 TI Foundation STEM Award recipients are:
Robert Allison, Bryan Adams High School, teaches pre-calculus and calculus for 10(th), 11(th) and 12(th) grades. Mr. Allison offers a rigorous curriculum that encourages students to push themselves to a level they may not realize they can reach.
Maya Brown, Samuell High School, teaches aquatic science to 12(th) graders. Ms. Brown draws real world correlations between what they are learning and how it connects to their world.
Dee Coyle, Lang Middle School, teaches touch system data entry for 7(th) and 8(th) grades. Ms. Coyle integrates math and science into her computer keyboarding classes.
Felicia Cummings, Zan Holmes Middle School, teaches 6(th) grade science. Ms. Cummings encourages students to be curious and inquire about the world around them. She uses her students' data to plan lessons that challenge their thinking and problem-solving skills.
Joseph Ibarra, Irma Rangel All Girls High School, teaches statistics, calculus and algebra II for 9(th) through 12(th) grades. Mr. Ibarra hopes that all his students will use math to invent something that will transform humanity in a positive way forever. He is focused on preparing his students for success in rigorous college coursework.
Travis Smith, Trinidad Garza Early College, teaches pre-calculus and calculus for grades 11 and 12. Mr. Smith believes that even the most dejected "I HATE MATH" student can be successful if the math is made accessible and if the teacher is enthusiastic.
Brandi Stennis, J.F. Kimball High School, teaches biotechnical engineering to 10(th) and 11(th) graders. Ms. Stennis works to tie what they are learning to something in their lives.
Creighton Bryan taught engineering and robotics at South Garland High School. His competition teams have qualified for the national level eight consecutive years and have also placed in the top 10 nationally in several categories.
Erik Bushland, Sachse High School, teaches Career Technology Education. His passion for helping students become technology leaders inspires Mr. Bushland to consistently implement innovative programs in his classroom to engage his students.
Gye Kraemer, Hudson Middle School, teaches science and robotics. Mr. Kraemer started a program to make obscure STEM concepts a hands-on reality. His afterschool robotics club quickly blossomed, leading to the creation of a highly sought after robotics class.
Nicholas Keith, George Washington Carver 6(th) grade STEM Learning Center, taught integrated STEM classes. In the coming year, he will be a blended learning STEM specialist for K-12, working with teachers and students. Mr. Keith was named "teacher of the year" at the campus and district levels for both elementary and secondary schools.
Patricia Oliver, West Mesquite High School, teaches chemistry and AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) for 10(th) and 11(th) grades. Ms. Oliver meets the varying needs of her students by differentiating her lessons, infusing technology and relating difficult concepts to everyday situations that students can understand. She encourages students to be free thinkers.
Kristi Hernandez, Agnew Middle School, teaches 8(th )grade science and Gifted & Talented. Ms. Hernandez builds relationships with her students by incorporating technology and hands-on activities into her daily lessons.
David Carroll, Plano West Senior High School, teaches AP physics for 11(th) grade. A former Plano ISD student, he returned to the district in 1990 as a teacher and seems to work magic in his classroom. He administers two physics websites, authored instructional materials and developed a Physics Olympics competition.
Nona Gill, Shepton High School, teaches geometry, "Introduction to Engineering Design" and "Principles of Engineering" to the 9(th) and 10(th) grades. When you walk into Ms. Gill's classroom you might encounter students racing robots or creating surgical arms. Ms. Gill is passionate about encouraging students to pursue STEM related careers, making an effort to reach students who are underrepresented in these fields.
Eric McDaniels, Frankford Middle School, teaches 6(th) grade math. Mr. McDaniels' students learn to be fearless in their attempts to understand mathematical concepts. He encourages constant reflection and celebrates not only among students who get the right answer but also with students who discover where they missed a step in problem solving.
Carrie Galvin, L.V. Berkner High School, teaches honors anatomy & physiology and biology. The 'ah-ha moment' is Ms. Galvin's favorite moment in teaching - that's when she knows her job has been done. Ms. Galvin was an early adopter of using technology for student learning.
Mark Mester, Richardson High School, teaches automotive technology to grades 9 through 12. Whether a student advances to state in an automotive contest or lands a job in the automotive industry, student success is what motivates Mr. Mester. He implements the latest technology and incorporates problem solving skills to teach his students how to use their skills in the workforce.
The Innovations in STEM Teaching Awards are one of many initiatives of the TI Foundation, which has led and supported innovative education programs for decades. Education is the Foundation's primary philanthropic focus, with grants specifically enhancing STEM education and supporting effective teaching.
Innovation and technology changes have led to demand for STEM competencies beyond traditional STEM occupations - skills necessary for innovation are scattered across a wider swath of the economy.
"These teachers are undoubtedly equipping students with the skills they need to take advantage of these opportunities," Pomykal said.
About the Texas Instruments Foundation
The Texas Instruments Foundation, founded in 1964, is a non-profit organization providing philanthropic support for educational and charitable purposes primarily in the communities where Texas Instruments operates. Committed to supporting educational excellence, the foundation works to create measurable, replicable programs and initiatives. The focus is on providing knowledge, skills and programs to improve STEM education and increase the percentage of high school graduates who are math and science capable. More information can be found at http://www.ti.com/education
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SOURCE Texas Instruments (TI)