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Benton Middle School Teacher Recognized as PLTW Gateway Teacher of the Year

Kelly Garcia from Benton Middle School received the highest honor given to Project Lead The Way Gateway teachers. Garcia is seen here with PLTW President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Vince Bertram.

Benton Middle School’s Kelly Garcia selected as national exemplary educator

ORLANDO (Oct. 24, 2017) – Kelly Garcia from Benton Middle School received the highest honor given to Project Lead The Way Gateway teachers – PLTW Gateway Teacher of the Year – Monday at PLTW’s national conference – PLTW Summit 2017.

PLTW recognized Garcia in front of nearly 2,000 attendees, including teachers from across the United States. PLTW President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Vince Bertram presented the award. In addition to Garcia as PLTW Gateway Teacher of the Year, PLTW recognized four other instructors as PLTW program teachers of the year for their outstanding commitment to empowering students to thrive in our evolving world.

“We are grateful to our teachers for their commitment to inspiring and empowering their students with the knowledge and transportable skills needed to thrive in our ever changing world,” said Bertram. “The PLTW Teachers of the Year are leaders in their classrooms and across the PLTW teaching community, and are inspiring the next generation of innovators. Kelly is a model PLTW Gateway teacher.”

PLTW selected Garcia from among thousands of PLTW educators. She is known by her colleagues for creating opportunities for students and ensuring PLTW is part of the fabric of the community. Understanding the need to increase female participation in these fields, she organized professional development for her school to address the biases and that impact girls and underrepresented groups. She organized a Mother Daughter Engineering Workshop and Tea event, giving mothers and daughters the chance to learn together the opportunities available in STEM careers.

Through the PLTW Gateway program she instructs, Garcia helps students in grades 6-8 decide what they’re passionate today and how that relates to who they’ll become tomorrow. Tackling pressing challenges like designing tires for a moon rover, cleaning up an oil spill, or solving a fictional crime, students learn to test their limits and question what’s possible. And by challenging themselves to rework and refine their projects, PLTW Gateway students learn that both failure and persistence are key to learning and innovation.

PLTW Summit 2017 is the premier gathering for the PLTW network – a group dedicated to preparing students with the in-demand knowledge and transportable skills they need to succeed in college and career. The event featured keynotes by generational expert Matt Beaudreau and Leah Jewell, managing director of career development and employability at Pearson; dozens of presentations by PLTW students from across the country; and more than 250 interactive workshops, many of which provided educators the opportunity to earn continuing education units. Chevron was the title sponsor for PLTW Summit 2017.

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. More than 10,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information, visit pltw.org.

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