Teacher of the Year

STEM Hall of Fame

Teacher of the Year

Each of the Members of the REC Foundation Teacher of the Year area of the STEM Hall of Fame is recognized as an educator who is passionate about learning and shows true leadership and dedication to his/her students. The Teacher of the Year inductees were nominated by the students on his/her team(s) with a written submission detailing how the teacher inspires, motivates, and educates students in a positive, enthusiastic, and challenging atmosphere.

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In many cases these individuals connect work with their teams with students’ work in the classroom; in other cases, teachers commit many hours of after-school time with a robotics club or team. In all cases, these inductees are committed to combining the inspiration and excitement of competition with the motivation and preparation of STEM learning.

Teachers in this area of the Hall of Fame not only master their particular academic disciplines, but also model ideal behavior for students in the areas of inquiry, exploration, problem-solving, and co-operative competition.

Jason Neagle Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
6135, 2886, 4104
Organization
Central Hardin High School PLTW EC3, John Hardin High School PLTW EC3, North Hardin High School PLTW EC3
Location
Kentucky, USA
Inducted
2018

Powers

Western Kentucky University Industrial Arts Education and Masters in Education Administration
Cisco Certified Academy Instructor
PLTW Engineering Master Teacher

Wisdom

Induction to the STEM Hall of Fame has been a huge honor, it reflects many hours of work on my students behalf and myself toward a yearlong goal each year. The VEX Robotics program has been the best educational and most student motivating program I have been involved with during my 20 years in education, that is why I coach VEX Robotics teams.

Nona Reimer Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Organization
Location
California, USA
Inducted
2018

Powers

Wisdom

Joseph Dilks Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
2616
Organization
Cherry Hill High School East
Location
New Jersey, USA
Inducted
2017

Powers

BA – Rutgers University, Political Science; Law Degree – Rutgers Law School. Retired from the practice of law after 20 years. High School Calculus and Computer Science Teacher since 2003. Cherry Hill East High School Teacher of the Year 2016. Robotics Adviser since club inception in 2009.

Wisdom

My role in our program is to show up and stay out of the way. Although I provide guidance, it is hands off. I provide an environment to allow the students to succeed. Our club is student-led and run. I am extremely proud of the students that have represented our club at the VEX Robotics World Championship every year since its inception.
Nadine Amaya

Nadine Amaya Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
113 | OGLE/EXCEL
Organization
Oak Grove Lower Elementary
Location
Mississippi, USA
Inducted
2017

Powers

B.S. Elementary Education, University of Southern Mississippi
M.S. Special Education with Emphasis in Gifted Education, University of Southern Mississippi
Mississippi Association for Gifted Children, Member since 1994
Began School Robotics Program 2015-2016
2017 OGLE Teacher of the Year

Wisdom

My second and third graders' success in VEX-IQ Robotics proves that age and size will not prohibit you from being successful as long as you work hard, believe in yourself, and put forth your best effort! While winning is fun, the real reward is what you learn from the experience! Over the past two years I have enjoyed learning alongside my students and their parents on our journey with VEX-IQ Robotics.

Sherri Whitehead Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
10740, B, C, D, E, and F
Organization
Oak Mountain Middle School
Location
Alabama, USA
Inducted
2016

Powers

B.S. Finance/Economics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB); Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Certified Teacher: Design & Modeling, Automation & Robotics; and Green Architecture AMSTI Trainer

Wisdom

Eight years ago I left a career in finance to teach math at the middle school level. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of students because they are our future. Never did I realize how much I would learn from them. We are in this journey together. While I am there to guide and direct, I love that my students are given the opportunity to learn about STEM through hands-on applications that VEX Robotics and PLTW provide. My students the real heroes!

David Aston Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
2918 | GCEC
Organization
Glenfield College
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Inducted
2016

Powers

BSc Auckland University 1978; Member New Zealand Institute of Physics; Head of Science Glenfield College Auckland NZ; Robotics Teacher at Glenfield College GCEC 2918

Wisdom

One of my first VEX robotics students told me that, “A robot is never finished.” She is right. If you think you are finished, you will only find others improving and you get left behind. Always give other teams help if you can, this enables their robots to do better. You may have to alliance with them and if their robot performs well so does yours.

Ana Medina Teacher of the Year

Division: VEX Robotics Competition

Stats

Team(s)
Team 2355B & Team 7041B
Organization
Location
Puerto Rico, USA
Inducted
2015

Powers

Wisdom

Kristi Matlack Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Team 4810 & 10021
Organization
North Union Middle School
Location
Ohio, USA
Inducted
2015

Powers

B.A. Elementary Education, Bowling Green State University
M.S. Education, Marygrove College
2013 North Union Teacher of the Year
Project Lead the Way Gateway Teacher

Wisdom

Enjoy the journey. I am honored to have received this award on my journey to provide meaningful learning experiences for my students. I tell my teams and encourage others to enjoy the journey too. Celebrate your accomplishments, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.

Todd  Ablett Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Team 2 | The Robosavages
Organization
Gladstone Secondary School
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Inducted
2014

Powers

Journeyman Electrician BCIT; B.Sc University of British Columbia; B.Ed University of British Columbia; Prime Minister's Teaching Excellence Award; Queen Elisabeth Diamond Jubilee Award

Wisdom

I really have been privileged to work with so many great students and adults, not only from the Robosavages, but from all over the world. Teach your students to be fearless about failure. Success is a often bumpy and twisty road. And if you are ever in Vancouver, come see us!

Maureen Hudson Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Teams: 7222x, 7222z, 2711 and 2711b
Organization
Haile Middle School
Location
Florida, USA
Inducted
2014

Powers

B.S. Interior Design/Architecture & Resource Management, Virginia Tech; 2014 Advisor of Technology Student Association National Champions; 2014 Manatee County Bright Star Teaching Award

Wisdom

VEX Robotics has allowed my builders, writers, creators, problem solvers and speakers to all work together and learn from each other. I was shocked and honored when I won an award because of their dedication and hard work! They rise to the occasion no matter how high my expectations.
Photo coming soon

MelissaFernandez Teacher of the Year

Melissa Fernandez Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
619A | Mecha Makos
Organization
MAST Academy
Location
Florida, USA
Inducted
2013

Powers

Wisdom

David Kelly Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Organization
Pembroke Academy
Location
New Hampshire, USA
Inducted
2013

Powers

B.S. University of New Hampshire
M.Ed. Plymouth State College
2009 Chesapeake Regional Woodie Flowers Award
2011 Christa McAuliffe Sabbatical

Wisdom

It is an incredibly challenging problem to create something which is elegantly simple.

Alan Alessi Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Organization
Location
Inducted
2012

Powers

Wisdom

Megan Connolly Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Team 169 | The Cavalry
Organization
The Haverford School
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Inducted
2012

Powers

B.A. Mathematics
Sec. Ed. Math Certification
Served as principal software engineer for UNISYS and technical lead on Man-Machine Interface Component of UNIX/C Message Switch.
Director of Technology and Advisor to Robotics Teams, The Haverford School.

Wisdom

As a lifelong learner and lover of math and problem solving, I want to share that excitement and fun with young people.  Problems we face today need smart, confident, creative, and collaborative teams working on them, and robotics is an excellent way to prepare tomorrow's problem solvers.

Lewis Chappelear Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Teams 628 and 1469
Organization
James Monroe HS and Holmes International MS
Location
California, USA
Inducted
2011

Powers

Co-Chair, California Department of Education STEM Task Force
Member of both the California Teacher Advisory Council and the California Council of Science and Technology

Wisdom

It isn't just me--it's the thousands of kids, parents, teachers and community members whom I've worked with over the years that join me in this Hall of Fame. The cheering from my team was so loud when my name was announced, I could barely understand what was happening.

Enrique R. Santa Cruz Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Team 52 | Walden Grove Red Wolves
Organization
Walden Grove/Sahuarita HS
Location
Arizona, USA
Inducted
2010

Powers

Founder of the school's Robotics & Automation Program
Instructor, Robotics & Automation

Wisdom

As a high school dropout, I want to acknowledge my greatest instructors--my three uncles, Joe, George and Anthony Rivera. Their journeyman trade skills which they taught me as their apprentice allowed me to pass on their knowledge to the students I teach now.
Photo coming soon

JoshuaGabrielse Teacher of the Year

Joshua Gabrielse Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Organization
Baltimore City Schools
Location
Maryland, USA
Inducted
2009

Powers

B.S., Physics, Calvin College
M.A., Education, Johns Hopkins

Wisdom

Joseph Vanderway Teacher of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Team 599 | Robodox
Organization
Granada Hills Charter High
Location
California, USA
Inducted
2008

Powers

B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
FIRST Woodie Flowers Finalist - Los Angeles, 2007
FIRST Regional Outstanding Volunteer - 2009

Wisdom

I believe the way to solve our problems is to move forward, to learn, to grow and expand our understanding of the universe and ourselves.  The best way I can think of doing this is to encourage young people to be curious, to want to know, and to learn to work together.  Competitive robotics does just that.