TSTA EDUCATORS OF THE YEAR

K-4 Educator of the Year 2015

Cara C. Wade has taught Kindergarten through third grade for the last ten years. She has served as a STEM Integration Professional Development Instructor, Co-Sponsor STEM/SECME Club “Queen Bees”, a Project Based Learning Instructor Vanderbilt Science for Center Outreach, Vanderbilt Elementary Curriculum Consultant under Dr. Neal, and was Co-Chair on the committee responsible for securing “Race to the Top” funds for Hattie Cotton Elementary School’s transition to a STEM Magnet School. Cara was also a part of establishing Science Olympiad at Carter Lawrence Elementary School and Hands on Science SIL (Science Integration through Literature) Video project under Dr. Lang. 

“The best part about teaching is not a letter grade or score on a mandated assessment, but when children hold themselves accountable to academic conversions and learn by self- inquiry!” – Cara C. Wade

5-8 Educator of the Year 2015

Jacob Farrell teaches Science and STEM at Elmore Park Middle School. Jacob has been teaching for 10 years. He has served as a member of the Bartlett City Schools STEM council, a member of school leadership team learning group, leader of multiple science professional development sessions for Bartlett City Schools, core coach in literacy for the state of Tennessee, Science core coach for the state of Tennessee, and lead two science professional development sessions for Shelby County Schools. Jacob has also been a part of initiating the STEM program at Elmore Park Middle School, organizing the Science Fair for Elmore Park Middle, Bartlett City Schools, and Germantown Middle School, and organizing the 1st E-day competition for Bartlett City Schools. 

“I know my students are going to learn. They are challenged, because I know they are capable. Indeed, my students start to understand the rigor of becoming a scientist, and they succeed.” – Jacob Farrell  

9-12 Educator of the Year 2015

Shannon Seigle  teaches junior Biology and senior Scientific Research at STEM School Chattanooga. Shannon has been teaching for 17 years. She has served as the Dean of Academics for 9th Grade Academy at The Howard School, Science department Chair at Tyler Middle Academy, 7th Grade Team leader Tyner Middle Academy, and Clinical Instructor for Project Inspire at Tyner Middle Academy. In Spring 2015, Shannon’s Biology students were the first ever to participate in a collaboration project with the University of Southern California. For the project, the students designed and conducted human impact experiments, communicated and collaborated with professors at USC, and controlled the world’s only 4K-high definition microscope located at USC.

My favorite thing about being a teacher is building positive relationships with my students and facilitating inquiries that help to build a love and respect for science and how it relates to the real-world.” – Shannon Seigle  

College Educator of the Year 2015

Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross teaches undergraduate and graduate Chemistry and Honors Physical Science at Middle Tennessee State University. Judith has been teaching for several years and has held many positions including the Director for MTSU Women in STEM center, Director of MTSU Expanding Your Horizons in STEM Conference (EYH), Director of Girls Raised in Tennessee Science (GRITS), mentor to over 100 undergraduate and graduate students, Co-chair for Million Women Mentors, Member of the MTSU Women and Gender Studies Council, MTSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women, and Team Leader for MTSU SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities).

Celebrate friendships, birthdays, and good grades. Treat your students well. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Give back to your mentors and to mentees. Fight for what is right. Go after your dreams.” – Judith Iriarte-Gross

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