Hickory Elementary School fourth-grade teachers Jan Stewart, left, and Kelly Mangum are Northeastern Maryland Technology Council 2016 award recipients.
Hickory Elementary School fourth-grade teachers Jan Stewart, left, and Kelly Mangum are Northeastern Maryland Technology Council 2016 award recipients. (Harford County Public Schools / Baltimore Sun)

Two Hickory Elementary School teachers – Jan Stewart and Kelly Mangum – have been named Northeastern Maryland Technology Council 2016 award recipients and will be honored during an evening gala on Feb. 25.

The NMTC Visionary Awards program celebrates those whose volunteer efforts contribute to building a STEM-educated workforce and to advancing technology and innovation. The combination of the two provide significant and rewarding careers for today's youth.

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Stewart, a fourth-grade teacher at Hickory Elementary School, was named a 2016 NMTC Rising Star for having demonstrated in a bold way the potential to be an excellent, long-term contributor to STEM education.

"While completing my coursework in iSTEM at Towson University, I have had the opportunity to work with true leaders in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics," Stewart said. "It has made me passionate about teaching integrated content in a way that involves students in asking questions, investigating answers and solving problems. I am truly honored to be recognized with the Rising Star Award from NMTC."

Stewart's involvement and leadership in STEM education has been steadily rising in recent years. In 2012, she completed the Harford County Science Academy. In 2014, she designed and presented a workshop for Towson University pre-service elementary teachers on iSTEM; wrote, was awarded and implemented a grant to fund a Bluebird Trail at Hickory Elementary School and to create a club for fifth-graders to plan, build and monitor the trail; presented about iSTEM and environmental education at the regional National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference; and designed and conducted countywide professional development.

In 2015, her ecology club expanded to involve first through fifth graders and she continued to present professional development on iSTEM at the school and county level. Stewart earned her post-baccalaureate degree in Integrated STEM Instructional Leadership (preK-6) in May 2015 from Towson University. She continues to help countless students, prospective teachers and practicing teachers.

She is truly a STEM Rising Star, according to NMTC.

Mangum, also a fourth-grade teacher at Hickory Elementary, was named a 2016 NMTC Mentor for consistently volunteering her knowledge, experience and wisdom by going above and beyond in using her personal time and resources simply for the love of stimulating and inspiring greatness in students and teachers.

"I am incredibly honored to be awarded the Mentor Award from NMTC for my work in iSTEM," Mangum said. "The experiences I have gained, the people I have worked with and the knowledge I have learned from Towson University's iSTEM program have made such a big impact on my teaching. Applying what I have learned, integrating content, using inquiry and posing real-world problem-solving situations, I feel that I am providing my students with opportunities to be better prepared for the 21st century."

Mangum has been a curriculum writer for more than a decade and she is a member of the Maryland State Department of Education STEM Education in Maryland curriculum writing project. In addition to the student clubs she's led, she has co-planned two years of STEM nights for Hickory Elementary and has co-created various engineering and STEM enrichment opportunities, both within and outside of the school day.

Since 2014, Mangum has delivered Harford schools systemwide professional development on STEM inquiry, questioning and interactive notebooks and has provided new teacher training. In addition, since 2012 she has mentored teachers on her own time and helped other grade-level teams to plan and implement STEM lessons and units.

"It is clear that Mangum effectively executes school and district-level leadership roles in STEM education. She is a STEM mentor who will continue to impact children, prospective teachers and practicing teachers in meaningful ways," NMTC members wrote.

This year's honorees have been recommended by the Visionary Awards Academy, comprised of the 40 previous honorees of the awards, as well as the community at large. Among the hundreds of attendees that evening will be key corporate sponsors, leading education institutions, senior Aberdeen Proving Ground leaders and scientists, NMTC's senior leadership and member company presidents and other distinguished guests.

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