The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) announced that Elaine Vaughan, a math teacher at Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was one of 10 math and science teacher leaders selected to serve as a 2017 STEM Teacher Ambassador. The program aims to empower teacher leaders to develop the necessary skills to effectively communicate the realities of their classrooms to stakeholders.


“Many of the policies and practices that shape K–12 STEM education today have resulted with little or no input from classroom teachers,” said Dr. David Evans, NSTA Executive Director. “Throughout the year, the STEM Teacher Ambassadors will be taking on additional responsibilities and leadership positions which will create new roles and a greater voice for teachers and for STEM education.”


Vaughan joined colleagues—all recipients of the Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST)—for an intensive communications, media, and policy training created by NSTA and NCTM designed to expand the classroom teacher voice at the local, state, and national levels.


During the weeklong training the ambassadors met with inside-the-beltway leaders to discuss major issues including key federal STEM programs, professional learning and growth, equity, standards, and assessments. They received rigorous media training and learned how to conduct media interviews and write op-eds; communicate more effectively and deliver key messages to the public; communicate new research results in STEM education; engage with local and state officials; and use social media to amplify messaging.


In addition to the training, NSTA and NCTM will provide ongoing organizational and professional support via the NSTA Learning Center. Through the NSTA Learning Center, the STEM Ambassadors will share work, track speaking engagements, and access important materials, including NSTA and NCTM white papers, policy information, news clips, articles, and research studies of importance.


“We’re very pleased with this year’s STEM Teacher Ambassadors,” said Ken Krehbiel, Executive Director of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. “They are motivated, they are passionate about STEM education, and they are deeply committed to developing their skills as teacher leaders.”


Vaughan has been teaching at Oak Ridge High School for 20 years, where her classroom experience ranges from teaching Algebra I to Precalculus Honors.


A national board certified teacher, Vaughan has created calculator labs, formative assessments, and project-based learning experiences that embrace Common Core Standards. She also serves as a professional learning communities coach, Response to Instruction and Intervention team member, and a mentor for preservice teachers.


An active member of the education community, Vaughan has presented several professional development sessions at local, state, and regional conferences. She has been honored for her work throughout her career. Vaughan serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow and most recently received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching in 2015. She also has received several grants from the Oak Ridge Public Education Foundation, Xi State Vision Foundation, and Delta Kappa Gamma.


This year’s cohort of teacher leaders was chosen from a pool of more than 130 PAEMST winners. The STEM Ambassadors were selected on the basis of several criteria, including showing evidence of teacher leadership; a solid background in science, math, and STEM education; and displaying a strong interest in growing as a professional STEM educator.


More information about the program and a complete list of the 2017 STEM Teacher Ambassadors can be found here.


This program is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1554059. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.”


About NSTA

The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence in science teaching and learning, preschool through college. NSTA’s membership includes approximately 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business representatives, and others involved in science education.


About the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is the public voice of mathematics education, supporting teachers to ensure equitable mathematics learning of the highest quality for each and every student through vision, leadership, professional development and research. With 60,000 members and more than 230 Affiliates, it is the world’s largest organization dedicated to improving mathematics education in prekindergarten through grade 12. NCTM is dedicated to ongoing dialogue and constructive discussion with all stakeholders about what is best for students and envisions a world where everyone is enthused about mathematics, sees the value and beauty of mathematics, and is empowered by the opportunities mathematics affords.