Position: Stem Lab Teacher/Coordinator
School: City Park Elementary School
School District: Dalton Public Schools
City, State: Dalton, Georgia
About the Nominee: Lisa Cushman was nominated by a family member, Carleen Brock. At City Park Elementary School, every student receives free lunch. Ms. Cushman felt that these students were missing out on opportunities, so after completing her elementary science endorsement, she developed a STEM curriculum for all 700+ plus, students in her school. Through her research, Ms. Cushman also realized that minority students and girls were underrepresented in computer science, so she taught herself computer coding and started a coding club for 60 girls that took place before school. Now, the club takes place over two days, with 30 boys participating on one day and 30 girls on another day. This year, Ms. Cushman added an after-school engineering club for 28 girls in fourth and fifth grade. She has accomplished this with help from Dalton Education Foundation by being recipient of a grant two years in a row. This grant offers opportunities for students that they wouldn't normally receive. She has also reached out to her community, partnering with Home Depot and Shaw Carpet to provide support in her classroom.
After hearing from a few new teachers and remembering what it was like to be a new teacher almost 20 years ago, Ms. Cushman decided to host a bi-monthly after school get together so new teachers could share ideas and concerns.
Some of Ms. Cushman's many accomplishments include being named City Park Teacher of the Year in 2015 and being nominated for the Tom Jones Educator of the Year Award from the Dalton Education Foundation. Additionally, her STEM Lab was named as one of the first fifteen "LittleBits" School Chapters in the U.S.
She is also the mother of two fine boys, one who is a graduate of Birmingham Southern College, and the other who is a senior at Dalton High School.
Ms. Cushman takes pride in her many accomplishments, but most importantly, she takes pride from the acknowledgment she receives from her students, both past and present.