The Eastern Arizona Science Initiative (EASI) has selected two outstanding local educators as the 2019 STEM Educators of the Year. The annual awards are given to only two educators, one representing Pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade level and another representing 7th grade through high school. The awards are presented to individuals who promote and improve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in the Eastern Arizona region. This year’s awards are presented to Mrs. Heather Dillman from Fort Thomas Elementary School and Mrs. Debbie Pearson from Safford Middle School.
Mrs. Heather Dillman from Fort Thomas Elementary School was selected as the Pre-K through 6th grade STEM Educator of the Year for her outstanding efforts in providing hands-on science opportunities to the youth at Fort Thomas Elementary and High School. Mrs. Dillman is the computer teacher for the elementary school, where she teaches operation and programming skills. She is extensively involved in extra-curricular STEM activities, including the Eastern Arizona Science Initiative’ annual Summer Science Camps, Tonto Creek STEM Camp, and sharing lessons at teacher professional development workshops. Mrs. Becky Booth, Science Instructor at Duncan High School, nominated Mrs. Dillman and states that “Heather builds a rapport with her students that remains strong, even as they are promoted to jr. high and high school.” She concludes; “I believe that she is a great example of how one doesn’t have to be a science or math teacher to share STEM concepts to all.”
Mrs. Debbie Pearson, 7th Grade Science Teacher at Safford Middle School was selected as the 7th through 12th grade STEM Educator of the Year for her dedication in sharing STEM education for her students and the Eastern Arizona community. Mrs. Pearson is actively engaged in helping her students through extra-curricular STEM activities through the Eastern Arizona science Initiative’s annual Summer Science Camps, teacher professional development workshops, and she regularly attends sporting events and after-hours activities to support her students and show school pride. Mr. Travis Masten, Assistant Principal, notes; “her dedication to her students is beyond compare. (Mrs. Pearson) is very innovative in her teaching methods and does an amazing job of keeping her students’ attention and develop their ideas. He continued that “She is a true blessing to our school and science department.”
The Eastern Arizona Science Initiative is honored to recognize and show our appreciation to Mrs. Heather Dillman and Mrs. Debbie Pearson for their outstanding efforts to share and facilitate STEM education in the Eastern Arizona community. Eac of the 2019 STEM Educator of the Year recipients received a framed certificate recognizing them, as well as a certificate for an Educational Outreach visit for two to the Mt. Graham International Observatory from the EAC Discovery Park Campus. They also recieved two movie tickets donated by the Allen Theatres – Stargazer 5 in Safford, a $25 gift certificate donated by the El Charro Restaurant in Safford so they can enjoy an evening out for a movie and a delicious meal, and a $50 gift certificate to purchase STEM school supplies.
EASI appreciates our friends in the community who generously donated gifts to honor our STEM Educators of the year. EASI is a non-profit group of educators and professionals whose mission is to improve STEM education and provide teacher professional development throughout Eastern Arizona. For more information on activities or how to donate or volunteer, please call Paul Anger at (928) 428-6260.