FORT WALTON BEACH — Ten teachers in south Okaloosa County were presented with grants from The HSU Educational Foundation on Friday during the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce's monthly breakfast.
The grants are part of the foundation’s Teaching Excellence Awards in Math and Science (TEAMS) program, which recognizes Okaloosa County teachers for their efforts in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
“Dr. (Paul) Hsu has always given back in the realm of STEM education, but formally wanted it to be a place for the community, for businesses,” said Amanda Negron, executive director of the HSU Educational Foundation. “The committee was formed five years ago to develop what standards we wanted to see in the classroom from a business perspective, and then allow those teachers to answer questions.”
Negron said Hsu, who started the foundation five years ago, values STEM education because he believes future jobs are going to require more workers skilled in technological and scientific fields.
A total of 16 teachers — six in north Okaloosa County and 10 in the south county — received the TEAMS awards this year. Four teachers received $5,000, four teachers received $1,000 and eight teachers received $500.
Negron said the $5,000 winners are teachers with the most innovative approaches to teaching of STEM material.
Karmen Broaddus, a geometry teacher at Choctawhatchee High School, was one of the winners honored Friday.
“It’s completely overwhelming,” Broaddus said of the award. “It will certainly help my family and my students.”
To date, the HSU Educational Foundation has awarded $100,000 to local teachers through the TEAMS program. The grants awarded in the TEAMS program can be used by the teachers for anything they see fit.
The 2019 TEAMS award winners hail from Niceville, Choctawhatchee, Fort Walton Beach, Crestview and Northwest Florida State College Collegiate high schools, as well as Baker, Bruner and Pryor Middle Schools, Liza Jackson Preperatory School and Northwood Elementary School.
The winners of the $5,000 prize were Broaddus, Deborah Schultz, Daniel Sligar and Carrie Foxhall. Other winning teachers were: Curt Palermo, Major Scott Bates, Jona Friedman, Devon LaMonica, Anthony Bryant, Jacqueline Sheffield, Tasha Bates, Michelle Cook, De Cook, Shannon Kirby, Stacy Burlison, and Meredith Coleman.