Rolls-Royce North America Hosts AFA Teachers of the Year

December 21, 2023

Rolls-Royce North America, a proud partner of AFA and the sole sponsor of our Teacher of the Year (TOY)award program, hosted nine former winners and runners-up of the award at their Operations Campus in Indianapolis, Ind. The teachers toured the manufacturing and testing facilities with Warren White, Rolls-Royce’s head of assembling and testing.

Wearing safety glasses and steel-toed shoes, the teachers were given a rare glimpse into Rolls-Royce’s operations, observing the advanced technologies used to produce Rolls-Royce engines and power components for military aircraft like the C-130J Super Hercules, the V-22 Osprey, and the B-52 strategic bomber fleet. The Operations Campus also serves the U.S. Navy and industrial power generation, commercial aircraft, and helicopter customers which the teachers learned about as well.

Rolls-Royce has more than 3,000 employees at the campus. As a major economic supporter in Indianapolis, they provide mentoring and career exploration opportunities for local school children. This community service was especially important to the teachers who wanted to learn about the different STEM careers involved in this high-tech, robotic-driven production program that builds and tests modern gas turbine engines.

The teachers observed from engineers, designers, testing teams, packers, and shippers in action, a demonstration of the wide array of careers involved in a massive operation like Rolls-Royce.

The nationally recognized AFA educators who participated along with the Vice Chair of the Board, Education, Stephen Gourley, and Education Council TOY co-lead, Susan Mallett, were:

  • 2023 National Teacher – Bill McInnish, Fla.
  • 2023 National 2nd Place – Ty White, Ariz.
  • 2022 National Teacher – Nancy Parra-Quinlan, Ariz.
  • 2022 National 2nd Place – Robbie Ferguson, Colo.
  • 2021 National Teacher – Megan Tucker, Va.
  • 2021 National 2nd Place – Ashlie Smith, Mich.
  • 2021 National 3rd Place – Jenn Donais, Mass.
  • 2020 National Teacher- Rachael Arens, Neb.
  • 2014 National Teacher – Kaci Heins, Ind.

The teachers also attended an educational dinner hosted by the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). AMA Executive Director Chad Budreau and Education Director Kyle Jaracz were hosts for the evening, joined by the AMA Government Relations and Education teams. Teachers and AFA leaders learned about AMA’s educational programs and products available to educational organizations and youth nationwide.

The teachers collaborated ideas about how to better support AFA’s emerging aviation endeavors, as well as overall AFA STEM education programs and will be important contributors to the AFA Education Council’s future STEM program initiatives.