hand2mind Congratulates 2016 Illinois STEM Educator Award Winners

Winners are Carrie Wilson Herndon, Granite City, and Jennifer Smith, Monitcello

September 29, 2016 – Vernon Hills, Illinois: hand2mind is proud to join with the Illinois Council of Teacher of Mathematics (ICTM) and the Illinois Science Teachers Association (ISTA) in congratulating the winners of the 2016 Illinois STEM Educator Award:

  • Grades K-6: Carrie Wilson Herndon, Metro East Montessori School, Granite City
  • Grades 5-8: Jennifer Smith, Monticello Middle School, Monticello

This newly created award recognizes the extraordinary achievements in K-8 STEM teaching in Illinois. The winners will be recognized at a luncheon on Friday October 7th as part of the joint ICTM/ISTA 2016 Annual Conference being held in Peoria. Each winner also receives a:

  • $1,000 check
  • $1,500 hand2mind gift card
  • Complimentary registration to the Illinois Math and Science Education Conference
  • Complimentary 1-year registration to ISTA or ICTM

Carrie Wilson Herndon, a former chemist turned teacher, uses the innate curiosity of her students at the Metro East Montessori School in Granite City to develop engaging STEM lessons. The awards committee was impressed that Herndon creates learning environments where students are empowered to pose questions, develop investigations, and design solutions to address issues that they identify. In addition, Herndon demonstrated extraordinary accomplishments in STEM education with the creation of the Farm Maker STEM Program at her school.

Jennifer Smith, a National Board Certified Teacher, seeks out opportunities for her students to impact the world beyond the walls of their 8th grade classroom at Monticello Middle School. The awards committee was impressed with the number, diversity, depth, and duration of STEM activities that Smith facilitates for her students – both inside and outside the classroom. In addition, Smith’s students clearly benefit from her 24/7 dedication to excellence in STEM education.

Six other finalists were chosen from the pool of 21 applicants. hand2mind joins the awards committee in congratulating them as well. Elementary school finalists were: Brandon Rutherford, Stratton Elementary School, Champaign; Becky McDowell, Barrington Schools, Barrington; Gretchen Brinza, Alcott College Prep, Chicago. Middle school finalists were: Joselyn Galvez, Frank W. Reilly Elementary School, Chicago; Kiniece Stroud, Robert Fulton Elementary School, Chicago; Alex Mendralla, Roosevelt Middle School, River Forest.


About hand2mind
The mission of hand2mind is to support K–12 educators and partners in their quest to inspire learning and champion learning-by-doing with research-based, proven hands-on solutions. The Vernon Hills, Illinois-based company’s solutions for mathematics, science, STEM, and literacy are unique in the marketplace, providing instructional curriculum, custom-kit solutions for content providers, manipulatives, interactive digital applications for education, and teacher coaching and development.