In the past, I have typically used my blog space as a Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Board Member as a place to advance policy or focus on initiative ideas. With this blog I will focus on the main purpose of CSTA, supporting computer science educators. On December 6, 2018 as part of the 2018 CS Education Week Announcements, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the creation of the Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year (CS-EOY) Award. During the planning and development of this award, we wanted this award to be on-par with the state’s Teacher of the Year award in terms of prestige and recognition.
My office launched the application request system on February 4, 2019 and over the next month we received 30 completed applications. The state’s #CSforAR / #ARKidsCanCode Computer Science Specialists, Jim Furniss, Tammy Glass, Kelly Griffin, Lori Kagebein, Eli McRae, Jigish Patel, Leslie Savell, and Zack Spink, under my facilitation completed the first level review. This review process, which focused on the overall quality of applications, each of which included a resume, letters of recommendation, and an applicant selected artifact; the applicant’s vision for and understanding of the value of computer science education for the current and future generations of Arkansas students; the applicant’s understanding of how their implementation of computer science education exemplifies quality teaching; and the applicant’s current and long-term impact on computer science education locally, statewide, and nationally, resulted in the selection of the five CS-EOY State Finalists:
- Carl Frank; Computer Science Teacher – Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts; Hot Springs, AR
- Josefina Perez; Business/Computer Science Teacher – Springdale High School; Springdale, AR
- Brenda Qualls; Computer Science Teacher – Bryant High School; Bryant, AR
- Kimberly Raup; Computer Science Teacher – Conway High School; Conway, AR
- Karma Turner; Computer Science Teacher – Lake Hamilton High School; Pearcy, AR
Many of you probably recognize these names, as they have been significant members of the CSTA and greater computer science education community for some time both in Arkansas and nationally.
The second round review focused on the same criteria and was conducted by Anthony Owen, Arkansas State Director of Computer Science Education; Don Benton, ADE Assistant Commissioner of Technology; G.B. Cazes, Metova Executive Vice President; Jake Baskin, Executive Director of Computer Science Teachers Association; Dr. Sarah Moore, Arkansas State Board of Education; and Sheila Boyington, Thinking Media/Learning Blade President/CEO.
On Thursday, May 2, 2019, Gov. Hutchinson held a press conference to recognize the work and selection of these five finalists. In addition, Gov. Hutchinson recognized Ms. Karma Turner as the 2018-2019 Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year. During the press conference, each of the finalists received $2,500 and recognition plaque. Ms. Turner received an additional $12,500 and a 2019 Computer Science Educator of the year trophy from Gov. Hutchinson. These awards were provided through funding from the ADE Office of Computer Science, which is a Special Project Unit formed to implement Gov. Hutchinson’s visionary Computer Science Education initiative. Arkansas is recognized nationally and internationally as leading the computer science for all education movement through Gov. Hutchinson’s #CSforAR / #ARKidsCanCode initiative.
For additional information:
Karma Turner’s NCWIT Aspirations in Computing biography may be read at https://www.aspirations.org/users/karma-118731
The Computer Science Educator of the Year award was announced by Gov. Hutchinson on December 6, 2018 as part of the 2018 CS Education Week Announcements: https://governor.arkansas.gov/news-media/press-releases/governor-hutchinson-ade-announce-creation-of-computer-science
The application process was announced by ADE Commissioner’s Memo on February 4, 2019, at http://adecm.arkansas.gov/ViewApprovedMemo.aspx?Id=3898
Anthony A. Owen
State Department Representative