Two Paulding teachers inducted into university’s STEM mentoring program

Name of Publication: 
Neighbor Newspapers
Excerpt of Article: 
By Mary Hood

Two Paulding County teachers have been selected to be part of a five-year program at Kennesaw State University to become better educators, mentor educators and improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning in the county and metro area.
North Paulding High School physics teacher Jason Goodman and South Paulding High School chemistry teacher Lyric Portwood were nominated and selected to become students learning to improve teaching.
Nine STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals were inducted into the Initiative to Inspire and Mentor Physics and Chemistry Teachers Noyce II Program, is a grant-funded program through the National Science Foundation which is being administered through Kennesaw State University, according to Nancy Overley, project manager for the I-IMPACT Noyce II program.
The program has selected six teachers in metro Atlanta to be master teaching fellows. Those selected were required to have a master’s degree and to be teaching in the field of chemistry or physics, for which both Goodman and Portwood were selected.
The remaining three students work in a STEM field and are not educators, but will work through the program to receive their Master of Arts degree in teaching science in either chemistry or physics as teaching fellows, Overley said.
The master teaching fellows will work together as a coalition to further develop their teaching skills, while also mentoring the three teaching fellows and other current teachers in chemistry and physics not involved in the program.
“Basically what our goal is, is to be able to define what quality teaching is in a chemistry and physics teaching classroom and to develop a community of professionals where other teachers can reach out to for ideas,” Portwood said.
And to her, quality teaching lies in STEM basics, which is a more hands-on approach to learning.
“To me, quality teaching is about being a facilitator — giving [students] the opportunity to discover and interact and explore on their own so they can draw conclusions,” Portwood said.
Goodman said he sees it as a great opportunity to bring together teachers in the very limited education fields of chemistry and physics.
“You don’t have a lot of them in one school,” he said. “It’s hard to meet and have professional development and community with each other.
“Sometimes we end up on islands and we don’t know what anybody else is doing.”
Both Goodman and Portwood said teaching these fields in school is elemental to understanding the vital technology that supports everyday life.
“We’re now in a time where technology is increasing exponentially, and we’re preparing students for jobs that don’t even exist right now,” Portwood said.
Goodman said students need to understand how technology works, so the system can support itself, otherwise the technology can’t continue to grow without skilled workers in the field.
Both said they are honored to be part of the program.

A Closer Look
- Jason Goodman is a physics teacher at North Paulding High School. He received his undergraduate degree from Kennesaw State University, and his master’s degree from Jacksonville State University. He has been teaching for 10 years, and has spent time teaching at Paulding County, South Paulding and East Paulding high schools.
- Lyric Portwood is a chemistry teacher at South Paulding High School. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Kennesaw State University. She has worked at South Paulding High School since 2007.

Kennesaw State University conducts I-IMPACT Robert Noyce induction ceremony

noyce, atoms, rushton

Program recruits Teaching Fellows and Master Teaching Fellows in chemistry and physics

Kennesaw State University has inducted its first cohort of experienced STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals into the I-IMPACT Noyce II program, six as Master Teaching Fellows and three as Teaching Fellows.

The I-IMPACT program is shorthand for the Initiative to Inspire and Mentor Physics and Chemistry Teachers in the classroom. Designed to place highly qualified individuals as science teachers in grades 7-12, its emphasis is in the chemistry and physics disciplines.

“Kennesaw State has taken another step toward increasing the number of STEM teachers with the establishment of the I-IMPACT program,” said Greg Rushton, the director and principal investigator of the program.

The program recruits academically qualified career-changers into the MAT Science program at Kennesaw State, which provides a multi-year professional development program for these Teaching Fellows as well as Master Teaching Fellows from local partner school districts. It is funded by a $2.84 million grant from the National Science Foundation and $1.4 million from KSU. 

“Our goal is to find people who are working or have worked in the science professions, who have the academic qualifications to enter a teacher–prep program, and who want to teach,” said Rushton, who also is a KSU associate professor of chemistry.

The Robert Noyce Teaching Fellows and Master Teaching (MAT) Fellows Program in Chemistry and Physics is a partnership between Kennesaw State, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the American Chemical Society and MetroRESA (the Metropolitan Regional Educational Service Agency).

The program is one of just eight similar programs in the country. What makes Kennesaw State’s program unique is that it is the only one that focuses strictly on preparing chemistry and physics teachers.

Teaching Fellows are initially eligible to receive $10,000 toward the cost of the 14-month program, according to Rushton.

“The scholarship pays for the student to pursue a master’s degree, while simultaneously earning teacher certification,” said Rushton. “Then for the next four years, candidates earn an additional $10,000 a year as a stipend along with an additional $5,000 for supplies and travel expenditures while they work in high-needs school districts.”

Those participating in KSU’s I-IMPACT Noyce II program included the following individuals. They are listed along with their participating school districts, subject areas and hometowns.


Spring 2012 Master Teaching Fellow Inductees:                                        

Sarah Eales, Gwinnett County Schools, chemistry, Atlanta;

Jason Goodman, Paulding County Schools, physics, Dallas;

Philip Heier, Gwinnett County Schools, physics, Loganville;

Erica Peddi, Cobb County Schools, chemistry, Austell;

Lyric Portwood, Paulding County Schools, chemistry, Temple;

Jordan Tidrick, Cobb County Schools, chemistry, Marietta     


Spring 2012 Teaching Fellow Inductees:

Kevin Cameron, MAT chemistry, KSU, Class of 2013, Dunwoody;

Rebecca Mortensen, MAT chemistry, KSU, Class of 2013, Duluth;

Beth White, MAT physics, KSU, Class of 2013, Atlanta       

The induction ceremony took place at the A.T.O.M.S. (Advancing the Teaching of Mathematics and Science) Center on the KSU campus.

  # # #

Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 80 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of 24,100 from more than 130 countries.


By Robert S. Godlewski

University recruiting science professionals for teaching program

Name of Publication: 
The Marietta Daily Journal
Excerpt of Article: 
University recruiting science professionals for teaching program
by Marcus E. Howard
October 06, 2011 10:39 PM | 364 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print

KENNESAW — If you have a degree in science, engineering or technology and are considering a teaching career, Kennesaw State University is looking for you.

The university’s new program, called the I-IMPACT Noyce II, is designed to draw and mentor talented science professionals to teach STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in public schools.

KSU has created two Robert Noyce Scholarship programs designed to recruit and retain teachers. The programs are specially designed for STEM professionals looking to become secondary physics or chemistry teachers, and current teachers looking to further develop as teacher-leaders.

“The purpose is two-fold. One is to increase the number of highly qualified chemistry and physics teachers teaching at the secondary level in our state, and along with that is to develop a stronger pipeline from the science and math professions into teaching as second careers,” said Dr. Greg Rushton, director of the I-IMPACT program.

“The second purpose would be to develop teacher-leaders out of existing chemistry and physics teachers.”

The teaching fellows track is for people who are employed or have been employed as professionals in STEM fields and who are interested in the 14-month master of arts in teaching program for physics and chemistry at KSU. They must hold an undergraduate degree in a STEM field and have worked in a STEM field.

The master teaching fellows track is aimed at experienced physics and chemistry teachers who are interested in a professional development. Participants must be invited to submit their applications by school and district STEM supervisors. They’re also required to commit to teach for four to five years in a high needs school system.

The master teaching fellows will be selected from public school districts in Cobb, Atlanta, Gwinnett, DeKalb and Paulding counties, Rushton said.

“We’re hoping that they’ll go back into one of these partner districts,” he said. “Those two (teaching tracks) will hopefully interact to a large extent.”

Participants in both programs receive $10,000 annual stipends during the five-year program, which includes a professional development period. Additional money is available for graduate tuition, professional development, memberships in professional organizations, travel and classroom supplies.

The program is made possible by a $2.84 million grant received last fall from the National Science Foundation and $1.4 million in matching funds from KSU.

Recruiting for the program is going on now, and the 16 students who are selected (eight from each teaching track) will begin studying in January.

“In Georgia, there is a tremendous need for teachers in general, but particularly for STEM professionals,” said Nancy Overley, program manger. “Overall, the universities and colleges are stating that, of the top-five needs in the schools, first is physics teachers and the third is chemistry teachers.”

For more I-IMPACT information, e-mail The application is online at

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - University recruiting science professionals for teaching program

Kennesaw State wins grant to train science teachers

Name of Publication: 
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Excerpt of Article: 

Kennesaw State University has received a $2.85 million grant from the National Science Foundation to recruit professionals working in science and math careers to return to college to become classroom teachers, college officials announced Thursday.

The university's College of Science and Mathematics will also reach out to science teachers with at least three years of experience for a leadership program. Teachers for this program will come from Cobb, Paulding, Fulton and Gwinnett counties and Atlanta Public Schools, college officials said.

Read more here.

KSU receives $2.85 million NSF grant

Science and Math building.JPG
Grant will fund scholarships to recruit, train chemistry and physics teachers

KENNESAW, Ga. (Sept. 2, 2010) —
Kennesaw State University has received a $2.85 million grant from National Science Foundation to help meet a growing need for highly qualified middle and high school science teachers locally and nationally.
Through the NSF’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, KSU’s College of Science and Mathematics will create the Recruiting and Retaining Teacher Leaders in Physics and Chemistry project.
The project is designed to recruit professionals currently working in science and math careers to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching. The scholarship program will also reach out to science teachers with at least three years of experience for a leadership program.
Using money from the federal economic stimulus package, both initiatives are designed to prepare better science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers.
Charles Amlaner, vice president for research and dean of the graduate college, said there is a critical need for teachers proficient in STEM disciplines at the state and national level. “This is ten times the size of an average NSF grant because the need is that great,”Amlaner said. “KSU has been answering that need for at least 10 years, and now this grant positions the university as a national leader in STEM teacher preparation.”
Starting in December, KSU will use the $2.85 million to recruit 32 participants, provide scholarships and develop a teacher leadership program, said Greg Rushton, an associate professor of chemistry who also directs the project.
Noyce Teaching Fellows can receive a maximum of $50,000 and are required to work in a Georgia high-needs school district for at least four years. Noyce Master Teaching Fellows will receive a $10,000 stipend each year for five years for professional development. Teachers will come from five regional school districts – Cobb, Paulding, Fulton, Gwinnett, as well as Atlanta Public Schools.
“This project will help address Georgia’s critical shortage of secondary physics and chemistry teachers by developing a pipeline of STEM professionals into teaching careers,” Rushton said. “It also capitalizes on KSU’s strong institutional commitment to the state’s K-12 community and the faculty whose passion and expertise are devoted to its teachers and students.”
The Georgia Institute of Technology is an institutional partner along with the Metropolitan Regional Educational Service Agency. The American Chemical Society will market the scholarship project to its 161,000 members.
The current grant is KSU’s largest Noyce award and will continue the success of two previous grants. In the 2009-2010 academic year, approximately 15 STEM teachers participating in Noyce scholarship funded programs at KSU will complete their initial teaching certification requirements.
In 2008, Rushton received $750,000 to recruit and train physics and chemistry teachers among KSU and Georgia Tech undergraduate STEM majors. Additional funding was later added to include biology majors. 
Desha Williams, assistant professor of math education at KSU’s Bagwell College of Education, received the second Noyce grant in 2009. She is using the $896,000 award for the Increasing Mathematics Teachers for ALL Students program to train middle and high school math teachers to work with culturally diverse students. In its second year, IMTAS is on track to surpass its goal of training 36 teachers.
The NSF’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program provides funding to institutions of higher education to provide scholarships, stipends and support to recruit and prepare STEM majors and professionals to become K-12 teachers.
For more information about the Recruiting and Retaining Teacher Leaders in Physics and Chemistry project, contact professor Rushton at
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