COLUMBUS — The Ohio Academy of Science today selected 57 Ohio schools and 486 teachers to receive Governor’s Thomas Edison Awards for Excellence in STEM Education for their accomplishments during the 2013-2014 school year. Each school will receive a special Governor’s Award certificate and each teacher will receive a complementary membership to The Ohio Academy of Science.

Ottoville teachers are: Kyle Kumfer (technology/business), Judy Bosch (second grade), Jeanne Wehri (science/math), Andi Wertenberger (technology/English), Pam Hickey (Family Consumer Science), Susan Jones (science), Shelley Mumaw (technology coordinator), Diane Wurth (third grade), Alicia Haselman (social studies/language arts), Aaron Verhoff (math), Jim Hoersten (industrial tech), Kevin Blake (science), Sherri Edelbrock (third grade) and Jim Brown (math).

“We are excited and proud of our teachers,” Ottoville High School Principal Jon Thorbahn said. “Our caring staff is unmatched and they push our students to a higher standard we have upheld and the parents allow us to do. It’s a combined effort between all three.”

Fort Jennings teachers on list include: Cheryl VonLehmden (computers/business), Rob Warnecke (technology coordinator/auto CAD), Kevin Horstman (math), Jeff Jostpille (science), Gaya Warnecke (second grade, retired), Jim Hoersten (industrial tech) and Heather Harmon (science).

“All of our teachers are very fluent in their teaching and delivery and have embraced all the new technology we share with our students,” Fort Jennings High School Superintendent Nick Langhals said. “They thing outside the box. Nothing is traditional anymore.”

Putnam County Education Service Curriculum Coordinator Beth Hench submitted the nominations for the teacher recognition.

“I oversee the county Science Fair so I track eligibility for this award and I was glad to have so many instructors to promote this year,” Hench said. “They also opened up the awards to K-12 so I could include the elementary teachers I thought were deserving and met the criteria.”

Hench prepares the applications and has to provide evidence of the teachers’ and schools’ participation in STEM education, including science fair entries and beyond.

“I’m happy to get these teachers the recognition they deserve for their hard work,” Hench added.

The criteria for the Thomas Edison Award for Excellence are: (1) to conduct a local science fair with 20 or more students, (2) qualify one or more of these students for one of the Academy’s 16 district science days, (3) have students participate in at least one more youth science opportunity beyond the classroom such as State Science Day, visits to museums, mentorship programs and extended field trips and (4) convince external professionals from STEM business and industry, government and academia employers how and to what extent the school’s program met the Academy’s definition of STEM education.

Five schools received the maximum median score of 10 points: Bellbrook Middle School, Bellbrook; Carroll High School, Dayton; Nativity School, Cincinnati; Ottawa Hills High School, Toledo; East Richland Christian School, St. Clairsville. Scores of other awardees ranged from 7-9.

“Schools and teachers that are awarded the Thomas Edison Award for Excellence strive to provide their students with hands-on education opportunities,” said Stephen McConoughey, PhD, the academy’s CEO. “Science is a subject that is best learned by doing. These schools and their teachers are finding new, creative ways to engage the students above and beyond the traditional methods. The students will benefit from these experiences as teachers continue to develop our next generation of scientists for Ohio and the country. In addition, having volunteers from industry and academia to review these applications provides a great perspective from those who use science daily.”

The Ohio Academy of Science initiated this educational partnership program in cooperation with The Office of The Governor and The Technology Division of The Ohio Development Services Agency to recognize schools and teachers who stimulate student scientific and technological research and extend STEM education opportunities beyond traditional classroom activities. The Technology Division of The Ohio Development Services Agency has supported this program since 1985 by grants to The Ohio Academy of Science.

Twenty-eight professionals - broadly representing STEM employers from business and industry, government and academia - evaluated the applications in a blind review process: AEP, Air Force Research Laboratory, Battelle Memorial Institute, Central State University, Chamberlain College of Nursing, DeVry University, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, Lake County ESC, Lorain County Community College, Mount Union University, Notre Dame College of Ohio, ODNR, Office of Ohio Consumers’ Council, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Ohio EPA, Ohio Northern University, Ohio University, Otterbein University, Procter & Gamble Co, Retired - Battelle Memorial Institute, Retired - Proctor & Gamble Co, State of Ohio, Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems, Summa Health System, TRC, University of Cincinnati, US Department of Energy, and US Geological Survey.

The Technology Division of the Ohio Development Services Agency funded the program.