Position: Fourth Grade Math Teacher
School: Barkley Bridge Elementary School
School District: Hartselle City Schools
City, State: Hartselle, Alabama
About the Nominee: Angie Harris was nominated by her principal, Susan Hayes.
Angie Harris, along with another teacher-leader at Barkley Bridge Elementary School, spearheaded the school's efforts to become a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) school. Her drive and efforts were so impressive that Project Lead the Way, the STEM organization that Barkley Bridge has aligned with, invited Ms. Harris and her school to speak at their State Conference and their widely acclaimed National Summit. Additionally, the school has been asked to be part of a national webinar series for other schools interested in pursuing a STEM curriculum. All of this is noteworthy, but the number one reason why Ms. Harris so diligently sought a STEM program was "that kid."
"You know," she would say, "that kid who doesn't know they're smart. That kid who doesn't do school very well. That kid who needs to know they can do something with their schooling. That kid who's smart enough to get into trouble if we're not engaging them. That kid."
Forty days ago, Ms. Harris brought "that kid" to Principal Hayes's office. He was praised earlier in the year for creating a vehicle restraint system unlike any other and for crafting a launching device that sent paper wads way beyond those of his peers. When Ms. Harris introduced him to coding, he created a little game and conducted "beta tests" by getting younger students to play it. After taking the students' feedback, he adjusted the game and had the students play again.
Barkley Bridge featured him on morning announcements. "That kid," who the school struggled to engage, now has a renewed interest in math, tech, and engineering and has decided he wants to be a game designer. His path would have been drastically different had Ms. Harris not been so convicted and determined.
The best part? A few of his A-honor-roll peers were heard conversing in the hallways saying, "I never knew he was so smart, did you?" But Ms. Harris knew. Ms. Harris is a LifeChanger. Bring on the "that kids!"