STEM & Innovation Dept. Recognizes Five Cobb Teachers

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) teachers from across the Cobb County School District have been recognized through the Cobb STEM Distinguished Educator Awards Program.

“This program is designed to recognize exceptional K-12 teachers in our district who have made a commitment to meaningfully implementing STEM in their classroom,” said Tania Pachuta, STEM Professional Learning Specialist for the district.

STEM is a collaborative instructive method designed to teach the hard sciences with practical and “real world” applications. Teachers often use various hands-on projects to integrate and reinforce the four disciplines for their students.

Examples include Ariel Jackson, who integrated technology such as Beebots (robots) and Merge Cubes (virtual reality) to teach content standards. Chelsea Whitesell partnered with Cobb County Water System to bring functional relevance to her lessons, and Dr. Hannah Oldham used STEM lessons with her students to create much-needed face shields for area hospitals.

Teachers apply for the program by submitting a portfolio of evidence documenting various STEM experiences they have engaged in and provided for their students throughout the year. Portfolios are reviewed and points are awarded based on certain criteria. The program was modeled after the Georgia Department of Education STEM Educator Laureate Program.

Awards were generously sponsored by nexAir, LLC, a leading distributor of atmospheric gases and welding supplies with locations across the mid-south, including Marietta.

Award winners receive various prizes with the top winner earning a Sphero robot (or comparable prize) for use in their classroom, along with a trip to a Georgia educator conference of their choice. This year’s top winner, Ariel Jackson, is a teacher at Green Acres Elementary School in Smyrna.

This year’s winners were: Ariel Jackson, Green Acres Elementary; Chelsea Whitesell, King Springs Elementary; Dr. Hannah Oldham, Sprayberry High School; Dyanna Motes, Kemp Elementary; Tami Mcintire, Palmer Middle School.

More information about the program can be found at