On Friday, April 23, a delegation of business and education representatives visited classrooms in the Asheville City, Buncombe County, and Madison County school districts to surprise and recognize three creative educators for outstanding career preparation efforts for their students. Each educator was presented with a check for $500 to be dedicated to their innovative programs.
The Innovative Educator program was created in 2005 by the Partners in Education Advisory Committee of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, which includes representatives from Asheville City Schools, Buncombe County Schools, Madison County Schools, and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Twenty-one educators have been recognized since 2005 for their job-readiness programs.
The 2010 Innovative Educators Recipients were:
Kimberly Novak is an Anatomy & Physiology, Earth & Environmental Science teacher at Madison County High School. Ms. Novak has focused on exposing her students to careers in the medical field and computer technology. Hands-on opportunities have included fields trips to "Bodyworks", a display at the Discovery Place in Charlotte, and bringing the DESTINY Bus to Madison. The DESTINY bus is a 40-foot science laboratory on wheels created by the University of North Carolina and Chapel Hill. Ms. Novak also focuses on sustainability by studying alternative energy and spearheading the recycling program at Madison County High School. Ms. Novak and her classes monitor the wind-turbine installed in October 2009 by Progress Energy as part of her curriculum.
Adam Bachmeyer is a Career and Technology Education teacher at Enka Middle. He has taught with Enka Middle for three years. Mr. Bachmeyer teaches his students to think and work in a team, a skill necessary for many careers. He incorporates many hands-on-learning experiences in his curriculum making his classes interesting and relevant. Mr. Bachmeyer also provides students with and afterschool club called Technology Students Association. TSA is a national club focused on Flight Distance, Robotics, Automotive Design and Fashion design.
Cindy Byron is a Earth & Environmental Science and Chemistry teacher with the School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville High School. Ms. Byron's work in grant writing has awarded her students two opportunities focused on sustainability. In 2008-2009 Ms. Byron wrote a grant and worked with the Asheville High Metals teacher to retrofit a conventional truck into an electric vehicle. The truck won two awards at the SMARTT Challenge (Students Making Advances in Renewable Transportation Technologies) sponsored by NC State and NC Solar. Ms. Byron's second grant was for the SILSA Sustainability Project. Students competed for portions of the grant to implement a sustainability project on Asheville High's campus. She obtained guest speakers and arranged fieldtrips to aid her students in their research for their projects. Participants included NOAA Climate Change, Canary Coalition, Asheville HUB, Appalachian Sustainability Agriculture Project, Asheville City Schools Foundation, First Light Solar, Biowheels and Warren Wilson College.