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Texas Instruments Foundation recognizes 13 local teachers for innovative science, math teaching

STEM Awards have provided more than $750,000 to North Texas teachers in past seven years

Oct 2, 2013

DALLAS, Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Texas Instruments (TI) Foundation presented its Innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Teaching Awards to 13 teachers from the Dallas, Plano, Richardson and Mesquite Independent School Districts (ISD) at a ceremony today at TI's Dallas headquarters.

Since 2007, the TI Foundation has invested more than $750,000 in the STEM Awards program to recognize and help retain excellent teachers in North Texas school districts. 

The awards honor local secondary math and science teachers who consistently demonstrate quality instruction and build student achievement in these critical 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 Richardson ISD Excellence in Education Foundation, Plano ISD Education Foundation, Mesquite ISD Education Foundation and the Dallas Education Foundation.

This year, more teachers than ever before were recognized as the program expanded to include an additional award for Richardson ISD.

"It's a pleasure to recognize the outstanding work local teachers are doing in the classroom," said Lewis McMahan, chairman of the TI Foundation. "Teachers are powerful instruments for success, not only for companies like TI, but also for our community, our economy and our society."

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. A list of finalists is then submitted to the districts' foundations, and winners are selected.

The STEM Awards are just 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.

Workforce projections for 2014 show that 15 of the 20 fastest-growing jobs will require math or science training, and that by 2018 there will be 1.2 million job openings in STEM-related fields, but there will be a shortage of people to fill these jobs.

"These teachers are doing the important work of preparing the next generation of engineers and scientists – planting the first seeds that could develop a new generation of STEM leaders," McMahan said.

The 13 TI Foundation STEM Award recipients for 2013 are:

Dallas ISD
Kirklyn Jackson, A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School, teaches arts and digital media. By combining art and digital media courses together, Jackson creates a unique blend of projects that focus on college readiness and are centered on career opportunities within the technology and art fields.

Samantha Karpienski, Boude Storey Middle School, teaches science. Students in Karpienski's classroom are treated like scientists as they record their daily learning in science journals while they explore exciting and engaging concepts with hands-on projects. Her students outperformed the district on the 2012-2013 semester exams.

Toni Harrison-Kelly, Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy, teaches engineering and technology. Harrison-Kelly's goal is to nurture and develop scientific curiosity so keen that it makes a 15-year-old student choose to forgo video games and television to research robot drive trains or aircraft design.

Kathleen McAdams, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, teaches biology. McAdams incorporates the arts and creativity into everything she does in her classroom, allowing students to give presentations using their chosen medium, such as music or dance, to relate the information they discovered.

Cathy Powell, Benjamin Franklin Middle School, teaches math. To engage her students Powell borrows from current pop culture music, challenging students to create songs to remember the steps to solving math problems. Powell has found that writing and performing their songs helps the students remember all the steps, even after much time has passed.

Enid Sanchez, Woodrow Wilson High School's STEM Academy, teaches science and engineering. Sanchez was instrumental in beginning the ninth grade physics class for STEM students and taught the inaugural class with a 100 percent passing rate on the End of Course STAAR test last year.

Eliana Tseng, Robert T. Hill Middle School, teaches math. In her classroom, Tseng focuses on preparing students to become successful college students, career makers, and ultimately, lifelong learners. Outside the classroom, Tseng has coordinated her school's Lego Robotics club and led her team to compete at the regional competition.

Mesquite ISD
Aubrey Otero, Dr. John D. Horn High School, teaches biology and anatomy. To actively involve her students inside and outside the classroom and to improve communication with her students and parents, Otero created an individualized study aid personalized around instruction provided in her classroom.

Plano ISD
Nicole Lyssy, Plano West Senior High School, teaches science.  As a result of her unique teaching methods, 85 percent of Lyssy's students have scored a 3, 4 or 5 on the College Board AP Chemistry Exam the last two years, and the program is growing such that school will add additional sections to accommodate the increase in student demand for AP chemistry.

Kevin Ng, Plano Senior High School, teaches engineering and science. Ng's innovative approaches to teaching led to a 96 percent passing in engineering and 97 percent passing in his physics class – along with a positive attitude towards science that he has engendered in his students.

Kayla Olivas, McMillen High School, teaches science and engineering. To ensure her classroom is effective, Olivas targets different learning styles and provides stations tailored to her students' needs so they can work at their level until they master the concept.

Richardson ISD
Chad Gilliland, Richardson High School, teaches math. Gilliland is not only a teacher, but also a leader of teachers and an advocate of students. He teaches the PSAT math portion of the school's "Future Scholars" program, presents at vertical team meetings and helps other math teachers incorporate SAT questions and strategies into their curriculum.

Clark Good, STEM Academy at Berkner High School, teaches math. To ensure his students meet his high expectations, Good develops challenging activities and cross-curricular projects that promote higher order thinking and the development of other skills that will be required for students of the 21st century.

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

SOURCE Texas Instruments Foundation