Williams attends Mickelson teachers academy

Published 4:09 pm Friday, August 21, 2009

Editor’s Note: Sheri K. Williams submitted this article, not “toot my own horn, but to advertise this academy to teachers throughout Georgia. It is my goal to see many more of Georgia’s third- through fifth-grade teachers participate in this outstanding professional learning opportunity. Teaming big business with education is an area that needs to be investigated further and implemented more in sight of our recent economic woes. If America is to be competitive within the next 10 to 15 years in a global market, we must begin now preparing our students. Part of this preparation is motivating them in the areas of math and science and encouraging them to pursue careers in the STEM areas (science, technology, engineering and math). If we do not get motivated and act now, I shutter to think what the future holds for our country.”

Sheri Williams, a third-grade teacher at K.B. Sutton Elementary School in Forsyth, Ga., was selected to attend the 2009 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy (MEMTA) at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J.

Williams, daughter of Doug and Joan White and granddaughter of Doris Barwick, all of Bainbridge, was one of 200 highly-qualified third- through fifth-grade teachers from around the country selected to attend the intensive one-week, all-expense paid professional development program this summer.

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A panel of educators from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) selected Williams to attend the Academy. The panel based their decision on her qualifications, dedication to inspiring students at an early age and her overall commitment to enhancing the teaching profession.

During the Academy, which was July 19-24, teachers discovered new ways to excite students using experiments that demonstrate various math and science concepts including force, gravity and probability. The Academy curriculum worked to deepen teachers’ understanding of these principles by conducting hands-on experiments that teachers can share with their students in the classroom.

“Teaming big business with education should be investigated and implemented on a larger scale. In sight of recent economic woes, the business community is an excellent resource to tap into, especially in the area of staff development,” Williams said.

In April 2008, the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy launched www.sendmyteacher.com, an interactive Web site, to expand professional development opportunities to teachers nationwide. Since its launch, more than 1,600 teachers from all 50 states logged on to the site to apply for the opportunity. Students were also encouraged to nominate their teacher to apply for the opportunity by sending an e-card or printing a teacher appreciation certificate from the site.

ExxonMobil partnered with PGA golfer Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, the National Science Teachers Association and Math Solutions to found the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy in 2005. The Academy is designed to engage students in math and science at an early age engage to retain their interest in these subjects through college and into their careers.

To date, more than 1,400 teachers have attended the Academy, impacting more than 30,000 students from across the country with the lessons and skills they learned.

Based on the positive response the Send My Teacher site received from teachers, the Academy will extend the opportunity to teachers again this year. To nominate local teachers for the 2010 Academy, please visit www.sendmyteacher.com