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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics


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    CONTACT: John Blacksten


    Five K-12 Teachers Win AIAA Foundation Educator Achievement Awards

    Honored for Efforts to Promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education

    March 23, 2017 – Reston, Va. – Four K–12 teachers from across the United States and one from Canada have won the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation Educator Achievement Awards, honoring their efforts to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. The five educators will receive their awards as part of the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala, May 3, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

    The honorees are:

    • Kathy Biernat, St. Mary’s Visitation School, Elm Grove, Wisconsin, for “11 years of teaching science to grades 5–8 and challenging students to continually learn and reach for the stars.”

    • Tracey L. Dodrill, Cocopah Middle School, Scottsdale, Arizona, for “truly exemplary contributions to educating and empowering students every day to pursue STEM education and careers.”

    • Alexandra Kindrat, St. Thomas High School, Kirkland, Quebec, Canada, for “outstanding teaching and sustained excellence in the implementation of authentic teaching practices and AIAA initiatives in the promotion of STEM at the secondary level.”

    • David A. Root, Lyons Township High School, LaGrange, Illinois, for “outstanding achievement in empowering students through the use of integrative STEM learning activities.”

    • Kevin L. Simmons, The Weiss School, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, for “exemplifying what it means to be a true ‘aerospace teacher’ through outstanding leadership and mentorship, thus inspiring students to achieve great things.”

    “Each of these educators has done much to help their students discover the wonder and usefulness of STEM subjects, as well as to understand the underpinnings of aerospace science and technology,” said Jim Albaugh, chairman of the AIAA Foundation. “The AIAA Foundation thanks them for their tireless efforts, and salutes them for being such inspirational figures in their students’ lives. Each of them has helped shape the future of aerospace.”

    The AIAA Foundation Educator Achievement Awards, presented biennially, honor classroom teachers who excite and engage students through STEM content and experiences. Through this recognition, AIAA celebrates the “best and brightest” educators for their efforts to bring real-world STEM to the classroom in new and exciting ways, thus inspiring students. Over 60 educators have received the awards since their inception, and they are a sought-after honor in the education community.

    For more information about the AIAA Foundation Educator Achievement Awards, or the AIAA Honors and Awards program, please contact Carol Stewart at or 703.264.7538.   

    About the AIAA Foundation
    The AIAA Foundation seeks to “make it exciting, make it empowering, and make it fun.” That simple, compelling philosophy drives the Foundation’s commitment to math, science, and technology education. The AIAA Foundation offers a wealth of resources to support educators from K–12 through university: scholarships, classroom grants, design competitions, and student conferences, improving scientific literacy and advancing the arts and sciences of aerospace. For more information on the AIAA Foundation and its programs for students, teachers, and professionals, please visit


    About AIAA
    AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 30,000 individual members from 88 countries, and nearly 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit



    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 500, Reston, VA 20191-4344
    Phone: 703.264.7558 Fax: 703.264.7551