April 19, 2012 - Sixteen candidates for a new program aimed at luring mid-career professionals and recent college graduates into teaching secondary school science, technology and math were named this week during the Scaling STEM conference at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham.
The candidates were selected from a strong field of 74 applicants to the program, called NCNSP STEM Teacher Education Program, which will provide classroom-based preparation in innovative secondary schools affiliated with the NC New Schools Project.
An initiative of NCNSP, the non-traditional teacher education program is supported by the federal Transitions to Teaching grant program, which supports efforts to recruit and retain highly qualified mid-career professionals and recent college graduates interested in earning a teaching license through an alternative route. NCNSP is one of 30 organizations nationwide awarded five-year grants from the U.S. Department of Education to train non-education graduates to teach in high-needs schools.
NCNSP STEP will focus on training teachers in innovative and effective instruction of subjects now considered critical for strong high school preparation -- science, technology, engineering and math -- STEM in shorthand. Candidates in the 15-month program will receive a year of on-the-job training at an innovative school supported by NCNSP, combined with NCNSP seminars and online coursework through WIDE World, a professional development program of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In the first year, the teacher training programs will be conducted at the NCNSP-affiliated Learning Laboratory demonstration high schools: Caldwell Early College in Hudson; Cross Creek Early College in Fayetteville; Hillside New Tech High School in Durham; and the Wayne School of Engineering in Goldsboro.
Selected for the first cohort of the STEP program are:
- Melissa Abbott received her bachelor of science degree with a concentration in environmental science from UNC Wilmington in 2000. She has since been employed in various natural resources/conservationist positions and will intern at the Wayne School of Engineering.
- Joan Anderson earned her bachelor's degree in mathematics with a minor in computer science in 1992. Her career thus far has been spent in the telecommunications industry, and she will be interning at Wayne School of Engineering.
- Tamika Carter will graduate in May from Fayetteville State University with a degree in biology. Her goal of becoming a teacher will begin to be realized through her STEP internship at Cross Creek Early College High School.
- Leisa Evans graduated from UNC Wilmington with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics in 1989. Leisa hopes to teach math near her hometown of Advance and will be interning at Caldwell Early College High School
- Jennifer Kirby comes to Caldwell Early College High School after working in various science- related positions. She graduated from East Carolina University with a bachelor of science degree in biology.
- James Ktsanes completed his bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of California at Irvine with a specialization in molecular biology and biochemistry. He'll be bringing his career experiences and knowledge to the students at Caldwell Early College High School.
- Gabrielle Mack graduated last year from Bennett College for Women with a bachelor of science degree in biology. She will intern at Hillside New Tech High School and hopes to contribute a love of science to students there.
- Kevin O'Connell will graduate from Virginia Tech this May with a degree in humanities, science and the environment. He is concerned about energy issues and in educating young people about sustainability through science. He will be interning at Cross Creek Early College High School.
- Jill Perry will bring her knowledge and experience in engineering to Caldwell Early College High School. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2000 with a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering and operations engineering and an appreciation for the value of project-based learning as an educational tool.
- Anthony Pierce, an experienced "techie," comes to Hillside New Tech High School with knowledge and practical work experience from his career in the networking and technology business field. He graduated from the University of Phoenix in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in information technology with concentration in networking and telecommunications
- Tiffany Robinson will graduate with a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Fayetteville State University in May. She will intern at the Wayne School of Engineering, focusing on teaching high-level math skills.
- Mary Samuels will graduate from NC State University in May with a degree in plant biology. Mary brings experience in horticulture and field research. She will be interning at the Wayne School of Engineering.
- David St. Clair graduated from NC State University with a bachelor's degree in fisheries science and wildlife management. He will intern at Hillside New Tech High School, hoping to challenge students to find solutions to environmental problems through his passion for science.
- Bethany Starnes will return to her hometown of Granite Falls and will intern at Caldwell Early College High School after receiving her bachelor's degree in biochemistry and chemistry from Campbell University and working in the Raleigh area.
- Mark Stolze received his bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering from Iowa State University. He has had a long career in manufacturing management , plant and mining operations and quality control. Mark will intern at Cross Creek Early College High School.
- Jennifer Whittington has worked in the banking industry since she graduated in 1991 from Dennison University with a degree in mathematics and economics. She will intern at Hillside New Tech High School and hopes to teach mathematics in the public schools of North Carolina.