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PLTW and Partners Recognize Outstanding Educators

INDIANAPOLIS – Seven exemplary teachers from across the United States received top honors Tuesday during the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) National Summit, including one award for the PLTW National Teacher of the Year.

Claude Charron, a PLTW Engineering teacher at Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami, Florida, is the 2014 Robert and Patricia Kern National Teacher of the Year. Charron serves as the Engineering and Biomedical Science Department Chair at Gulliver Preparatory Academy and is certified to teach four PLTW Engineering courses, including Principles of Engineering, Introduction to Engineering Design, Digital Electronics, and Engineering Design and Development. He serves as a PLTW Master Teacher, training hundreds of teachers from across the country each year to instruct PLTW’s Engineering courses at their own schools. At Gulliver Preparatory Academy, Charron’s students have received numerous national and international awards, including two National Championships in the Conrad Foundation’s Spirit of Innovation Challenge for their life-saving water filtration device that is now being used in Haiti and Nigeria.

In partnership with Lockheed Martin and Chevron, PLTW recognized six other instructors for their outstanding commitment to educating students in the STEM disciplines and preparing them with the skills to be successful in college and their careers. The six educators receiving PLTW National Teacher of Excellence Awards were:

  • April Moon, Waxahachie Global High School, Waxahachie, Texas – Moon is an engineer by training and made a career switch to teaching when a STEM-focused high school in her community opened. She is passionate about teaching engineering and works as an advocate for PLTW and STEM education in Texas.
  • Rebecca Howell, Center for Advanced Technical Studies, Chapin, South Carolina – Howell is a PLTW Master Teacher for PLTW Biomedical Science. In 2006, she stepped up to lead a pilot program when the Biomedical Science program was first launching across the country. Outside the classroom, Howell is a HOSA - Future Health Professionals advisor for her school, and the South Carolina Department of Education has recognized her as a leader in her field.
  • Lynn Settles, East Jessamine Middle School, Nicholasville, Kentucky – Settles is a PLTW Gateway Master Teacher, known by his colleagues for his fresh and engaging approach to teaching. In 2010, he received the Kentucky Engineering and Technology Education Middle School Program of the Year award.
  • Bryan Coburn, Northwestern High School, Rock Hill, South Carolina – A life-long educator, Coburn has been a critical factor in the long-term growth of Northwestern High School’s Project Lead The Way Engineering program. He is an Introduction to Engineering Design Master Teacher, and received an award in 2009 as the South Carolina Teacher of the Year. He is an engaging teacher known for setting high expectations for all of his students.
  • Autum Barry, Logan High School, Logan, Ohio – Autum Barry is a PLTW Biomedical Science Master Teacher in the Medical Interventions course. She spearheaded the effort to bring the PLTW Biomedical Science program to her high school, and continuously looks for ways to engage her students with the biomedical industry, including connecting her students to regional businesses and the Ohio University School of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Rusty West, Page Middle School, Gloucester, Virginia – West is a PLTW Gateway Master Teacher known for his passion for project-based learning and teaching robotics as a way to influence students’ learning. He was recently a finalist for Virginia Teacher of the Year, and Virginia named him the Middle School Technology Educator of the Year in 2011.

The PLTW teacher network includes nearly 19,000 teachers who have received PLTW professional development training since 1997 to instruct PLTW’s hands-on, project-based STEM courses. PLTW and its partners selected these seven teachers based on strong alignment to PLTW’s foundational values of leadership, continuous improvement, innovation, and accountability; exceptional commitment to students; school leadership; and evidence of meaningful involvement in PLTW curriculum, assessment, and professional development.

The 2014 PLTW Summit took place in Indianapolis, Indiana, Nov. 2-5, and included more than 1,300 educators and leaders in the corporate, nonprofit, and government sectors who are dedicated to helping students develop the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. The national event served as a catalyst for collaboration and strategies to help solve the education and workforce development challenges facing the U.S. The PLTW Summit was hosted in partnership with Chevron, and HP Company/Intel Corporation was the official technology sponsor of the PLTW Summit. Other sponsors included Autodesk, National Instruments, Intelitek, Vernier, and Zahourek Systems.

About PLTW
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading provider of K-12 STEM programs. PLTW’s world-class, activity-, project-, and problem-based curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development model, combined with an engaged network of educators and corporate partners, help students develop the skills needed to succeed in our global economy. More than 6,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are currently offering PLTW courses to their students. For more information, visit


Media Contact:

Jennifer Cahill

(317) 669-0871