For Immediate Release
July 9, 2009
AFA Announces 2009 National Aerospace Teacher of the Year
Arlington, VA – The Air Force Association (AFA) today announced William L. Austin, a dedicated teacher at Pocalla Springs Elementary School, Sumter, SC, is the 24th recipient of the prestigious National Aerospace Teacher of the Year Award.
The $3,000 cash award will be presented at AFA’s Air & Space Conference, which is September 14-16 this year at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. Also, earning cash awards of $2,000 and $1,000 respectively for second and third place are Dr. Myra Halpern of South Carolina and Matthew Smith of Utah.
Austin was nominated by the Swamp Fox Chapter #298 and the South Carolina AFA. He uniquely combines his roles as an elementary teacher, an adjunct college professor and an Air Force veteran, who served 21 years. Austin’s teaching career began as a favor to a harried educator who requested he watch over a class for a while in the absence of the substitute teacher. Instead, he discovered his calling.
He strongly believes in the importance of education, particularly the need for quality science and math education that is the underpinning of aerospace development and many other professions. In a 15-year teaching career, he has instilled a love of learning and science in many students. He also shares his practical knowledge with other upcoming science teachers as an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston and formerly at the Citadel Military College.
“Congratulations to William Austin, an excellent teacher. He is AFA’s National Aerospace Teacher of the Year,” said S. Sanford Schlitt, Vice Chairman of the Board for Aerospace Education. “He creates enthusiasm among his students, generates interest in science and inspires other teachers by his example.”
“William Austin is making a difference in many young lives, and we’re proud to recognize his dedication,” said Mike Dunn, President of AFA. “We appreciate William Austin, the many other fine nominees for this award, and so many good teachers across the country, whose work will influence our nation’s future.”
Austin holds a BA in Education from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s from South Carolina State University. He also studied Aerospace Technology at the Community College of the Air Force.
The National Aerospace Teacher of the Year award recognizes classroom teachers at the national level for their accomplishments and achievements in building enthusiasm among K-12 students about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and preparing them to use these skills and contribute to tomorrow’s technologies.
Contact: Ann Sagle at 703.247.5800 ext 4869 or email@example.com.
The AFA is a 501(C)(3), nonprofit organization promoting public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in the security of the nation. AFA has more than 200 chapters nationally and internationally representing 125,000 members. Visit AFA www.AFA.org.
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