Teachers Honored at PLTW Summit 2016

Six exemplary teachers from across the United States received top honors this week during Project Lead The Way’s (PLTW) national conference – PLTW Summit 2016 – including one award from PLTW and the Kern Family Foundation for the Robert and Patricia Kern PLTW National Teacher of the Year.

April Moon, PLTW Master Teacher at Waxahachie Global High School in Waxahachie, Texas, received the Robert and Patricia Kern PLTW National Teacher of the Year award. Before entering the classroom in 2007, Moon was a civil engineer. As a result, she brings an incredible amount of knowledge and perspective to her classroom. Since she implemented PLTW Engineering at her high school in 2007, one of her biggest accomplishments has been engaging more girls in STEM. Moon offers a scholarship to girls who pursue STEM fields after graduation, and she has recently spearheaded an outreach program for the elementary school girls with a robotics club called Digital Divas.

In addition to the National Teacher of the Year award, PLTW recognized five other instructors as PLTW program teachers of the year for their outstanding commitment to empowering students to thrive in our evolving world.

  • PLTW Launch Teacher of the Year – Kelly Wheeler, The Santa Rosa Academy, Menifee, California – Wheeler is a veteran teacher who is known for her zeal for trying new things and never missing the smallest of details.
  • PLTW Gateway Teacher of the Year – Beth Fox, William Lenoir Middle School, Lenoir, Kentucky – Fox is a PLTW Master Teacher who has been teaching PLTW Gateway since 2007. She trained at Duke University where she now provides Core Training professional development for other PLTW teachers.
  • PLTW Computer Science Teacher of the Year – Darwin Shorters, St. Johns High School, Charleston, South Carolina – Shorters is a PLTW Master Teacher in a small school with a large population of low income students. He has been involved in the national pilot program of the PLTW Computer Science curriculum.
  • PLTW Engineering Teacher of the Year – Chris Hurd, Cazenovia High School, Cazenovia, New York – Hurd is a Master Teacher who has built relationships with the community and local industry to create a dynamic support system for his students.
  • PLTW Biomedical Science Teacher of the Year – Dr. Julye Adams, Elkhorn Crossing School, Georgetown, Kentucky – Adams is a Master Teacher who was a research scientist before changing careers to teaching. In recent years, she has spearheaded a professional night for her senior students to have mock interviews with industry professionals.

“We are grateful to our teachers for their commitment to inspiring students,” said Anne Jones, senior vice president for programs and chief programs officer for PLTW. “The PLTW Teachers of the Year are leaders in their classrooms and are inspiring the next generation of innovators.”

PLTW Summit 2016, held March 20-23 in Indianapolis, was the premier gathering of passionate and committed individuals who work together every day to empower students to develop the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in an evolving world. More than 1,800 attendees – from students to those in the education, government and business sectors – convened to share strategies for making classroom learning relevant, engaging and hands-on.