For 15 years, I have been a teacher and innovation facilitator. I am currently the STEAM Specialist, Gifted Teacher and Instructional Facilitator (PD) for Hillsboro Charter Academy (HCA), where I have been creating unique curriculum since the 2016 school opening. I have taught 7th grade STEM for 4 years at the Palmdale Aerospace Academy in California, and taught 4th grade STEAM for 7+ years at Kenwood Elementary in Florida. I hold multiple STEM Certifications from Project Lead the Way Elementary and Middle School Curriculum. I also founded two after school clubs: AERO (Aerospace, Education, Rocketry and Outreach) Club for low-income middle schoolers as well as Girls in GEAR (Guiding Engineering, Aerospace, and Robotics), an exploratory STEAM club for 4th/5th grade girls.
My love of STEAM, especially aerospace, extends year-round as I have directed and taught at summer science and aviation/aerospace enrichment camps for K-12 students. I have organized teacher workshops and presented at multiple national and state STEAM conferences. I was selected three times, nationwide, for the America’s Teachers Program held by the National Training and Simulation Association. I am a published author on Science Netlinks with an article titled “Aviation Fascination.” (http://sciencenetlinks.com/media/files/essay-submissions/tucker.pdf) I was also chosen as a Presidential Award Winner for Science Teaching in 2010, the National Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Aerospace Educator of the Year in 2011, a NASA SOFIA Airborne Astronomy Ambassador in 2014, a Space Station Ambassador in 2017, a Space Foundation Teacher Liaison in 2017 and most recently awarded the AIAA Foundation Educator Achievement Award in 2019.
Always engaged in some aspect of aerospace, I have led two elementary schools to be awarded the National CAP Aerospace Connections in Education School of the Year: Kenwood Elementary in 2010 and Hillsboro Charter Academy in 2018. My initial aerospace curriculum ideas launched early in her teaching career with CAP and AIAA as well as from Educator Space Camp in Huntsville, AL, along with her mentor teachers. I work closely with Civil Air Patrol to collaborate in her Innovation Lab and have written national aviation curriculum for CAP as well as received numerous STEAM grants. I have seamlessly integrated aerospace into my school's elementary STEAM curriculum. I also serve the community as the STEAM Co-Chair on the Loudoun County Commission for Women and Girls.
I have a B.S. in elementary education from Auburn University as well as a M.S. in Science Education K-8 from Walden University. I am endorsed in Gifted and ELL and certified in elementary and middle grades education. I am a National Board Certified Middle Childhood Generalist. I also love technology and am a Google Certified Educator, a Seesaw Ambassador for Teachers, a MERGE Ambassador and has Apple Teacher Certification. I currently seeks out innovative professional development activities related to STEAM and aerospace to present PD to mycolleagues.
My teaching philosophy is simple: “If a student is truly motivated, he or she can achieve anything.” Engaging students and teachers in real world STEAM design challenges, especially using aerospace, is the perfect motivation to become a lifelong learner.