Summer Teacher Academies

Summer STEM/ STEAM Academy

June 9-12, 2020

Join the Georgia Department of Education STEM/ STEAM Team for four days of engaging learning online. During the virtual academy, participants will have the opportunity to connect with Georgia school leaders, educators, and community partners who are engaging students with STEM/ STEAM teaching and learning statewide.

Live sessions are limited to Georgia educators, however recordings will be made available in the week following the academy. There is no cost to participate. Participants are not required to attend every session.


Tuesday, June 9th

9:00-10:00 a.m.

Keynote Speaker

Peter Ulrich, Principal, Tybee Island Maritime Academy

Peter Ulrich has been in public service for 27 years, teaching and education administration for 23 years of that time. He opened The STEM Academy at Bartlett in 2013, a STEM School in Savannah, Georgia. In 2016, the Future of Education Technology Conference named The STEM Academy at Bartlett the #1 middle grades STEM program in the United States. Peter was awarded the Georgia PTA Middle School Principal of the Year award in 2016 and chosen as one of Georgia’s visionary leaders for STEM and STEAM education in 2018.  He was selected as a TED Innovative Educator in 2019 and is now the CEO of Inspire Savannah, the regional host organization to the annual TEDxSavannah event.  Peter is currently principal of Tybee Island Maritime Academy where he is implementing STEAM and PBL pedagogy.  


Peter asserts education is the economic engine of any community, and he consistently works to create school cultures that authentically prepare students for the challenges and experiences of life. For Peter and his colleagues, STEM is less about the acronym and more about how to access the world as we work together to solve problems. Knowing the foundational role that education, especially public education, has for our communities, he is grateful for the opportunity to play a part in substantive change. 

10:30-11:30 a.m.

A Schoolwide Approach to Design

Alicia Beck, Instructional Coach, Tybee Island Maritime Academy  

Katie Holiday, Teacher, Tybee Island Maritime Academy  

Design thinking is a process-based approach to learning and creative problem solving. Not only can this model be used to teach students to solve real world problems, but it can also frame how schools approach planning, teaching, and learning. During this workshop, participants will examine how schools can design a schoolwide approach to design thinking, utilize the design process to collaborate and plan for meaningful projects, and plan for purposeful opportunities for students to document thinking and learning in STEAM journals. 

12:00-1:00 p.m.

It takes a TEAM to be STEAM

Laura Mason, Principal, Rocky Branch Elementary School

Kandice Ivarie, Assistant Principal, Rocky Branch Elementary School

Jolaine Whitehead, 5th Grade Teacher, Rocky Branch Elementary School

Stephanie Dickson, Art Teacher, Rocky Branch Elementary School

As one of the first 15 elementary schools to be STEM certified in 2015, Rocky Branch Elementary, has a true understanding of how it takes a TEAM to be STEAM! In this presentation, participants will learn about the steps your TEAM should take to work towards STEAM certification. Learn more about how we kept the momentum going and the struggles we faced along the way. Join our TEAM as we share our journey to be STEAM.  

Wednesday, June 10th

9:00-10:00 a.m.

STEM/ STEAM Leader Panel: Planting the Seeds Necessary for STEM/ STEAM to Thrive

Starting a new STEM/STEAM program, especially one that integrates a variety of subjects and innovative teaching strategies can be an adventure!  The most effective and sustained STEM/STEAM programs begin with quality leadership. Join our panel of administrators as they share how through strategic planning and shared decision-making, they were able to change their school cultures to create a rigorous STEM/STEAM program that met the needs of the students, parents, and community. 


Dr. Jimmie Cave is a veteran educator who serves as the principal of The STEM Academy at Bartlett in Savannah, Georgia. Under his leadership The STEM Academy at Bartlett earned STEAM certification through the GADOE and has been recognized as the top STEM middle school in the United States (FETC 2019), an Apple Distinguished School, and National School to Watch. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC and earned his Masters of Education from Armstrong Atlantic State University. Dr. Cave continued his studies at Georgia Southern University and earned a Doctor of Education degree in Curriculum Studies with a focus on Instructional Improvement.

Katie Nanney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in grades K-6. In 2016, she went on to pursue her master’s degree in Educational Leadership at Middle Tennessee State. Katie has taught 1st and 3rd grade over the last eight years. During her time in the classroom, a love and passion for educating students through an interdisciplinary approach began to emerge. This passion has led her to guide two elementary schools in attaining Department of Education  STEM certifications in Tennessee and Georgia. Mrs. Nanney attributes her accomplishments to high expectations, continual professional development, and collaboration with seasoned mentors. 

Wade White has served as a Georgia School Leader for the past 18 years. He currently serves as the Principal at Martinez Elementary School in Columbia County, GA. During his nine year tenure, Martinez Elementary has been recognized as one of Georgia’s highest performing Title I schools. Previously he served as the Principal at Hephzibah Middle School in Augusta, GA for two years. Before being appointed to the position of Principal, he served seven years as an Assistant Principal at Hephzibah High School. 

 Some highlights of his leadership career include being named a Georgia Title I Highest Performing Reward School during 4 academic years. He currently is the District 3 President for the Georgia Association of Educational School Principals (GAESP). Additionally, he serves as the President of the Columbia County Principals’ Association. Most recently Mr. White led Martinez Elementary to successful completion of Georgia STEM certification in March 2019.

Dr. Margul Retha Woolfolk is the proud principal of the magnificent M. Agnes Jones Elementary School in the Atlanta Public Schools System. M. AGNES JONES is the first GADOE STEM certified school in the Atlanta Public Schools System! AND NOW….the FIRST traditional GADOE STEAM certified school in the Atlanta Public Schools System! Margul Retha graduated with a B. A. in Economics from Spelman College and earned both a Masters and Specialist of Education degree with honors from Georgia State University. Additionally, she earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Language and Literacy at Georgia State University. 

10:30-11:30 a.m.

Jotting in Journals

Brantley Sawyer, 3rd Grade Teacher and STEAM Co-Chair, Pine Ridge Elementary

Katie Sizemore, 4th Grade Teacher and STEAM Co-Chair, Pine Ridge Elementary

An integral part of creating a successful STEAM culture at your school is implementing daily STEAM journals. Join the “Jotting in Journals” session to learn how Pine Ridge Elementary went from cut-outs to authentic student reflections connected to learning.

12:00-1:00 p.m.

Leading, Teaching, Learning, Implementation, and Sustainability: Essential Ingredients for Growing a STEM School

Tony Stanfill, Principal, Adairsville Middle School

The path towards successful STEM implementation begins with identifying a STEM philosophy, which includes your mission and vision and will define and drive your school throughout its development. Like the acronym of STEM itself, the best schools are the combination of separate topics “integrated” into one. Great teaching and deep meaningful learning begin with exceptional leadership. Join this session to hear how Adairsville Middle School was able to transform their school culture to support STEM education for ALL students.  


Thursday, June 11th

9:00-10:00 a.m.

Community Partner Panel: Greatness STEMs and STEAMs from Partnerships

 Positive change in the quality of Georgia’s workforce comes from STEM/STEAM education. Partnerships with businesses, nonprofit organizations, and industries are essential. Be prepared to engage and listen to a panel of industry and community partners discuss the importance of developing partnerships with community and business partners within your local areas. Panelists will also share best practices and advice for STEM/STEAM teachers on how to prepare tomorrow’s workforce from their unique perspectives. 


Allen Bell is the arts education manager at Georgia Council for the Arts, where he oversees arts education grants, Vibrant Communities grants, teaching artist programs, and literary programs. He also produced the research report “Arts Education in Georgia,” managed the work of the Governor’s Arts Learning Task Force, and managed the development of the Arts Education Campaign. He previously served as program director for Arts Education & Research at South Arts, where he researched and authored “Arts Education in the South.” Previously, he served for 9 years as executive director of Rome Area Council for the Arts in Rome, GA. 

At Gulfstream, Whitney supports a team of 10 experts in flight simulation starting with first flight, through certification and well into production. With a B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering and an MBA, Whitney has worked in many capacities at Boeing and Gulfstream concentrated on Simulation and Flight Test for aircraft in the defense, commercial, and private industries. Whitney also serves her community as the Community Outreach Chair for 9 years in the Society for Women Engineers (SWE).  She and her outreach team started Girls Engineer It Day, which is currently in its 8th year.  She also enjoys her time coaching volleyball, gardening, driving at fast speeds around a track, and having fun with friends and family at the pool. 

 Kenton Meronard is a Research Technician and Program Coordinator at Albany State University.  He manages the University’s NASA Minority Undergraduate Research and Education Project Grant.  Through this grant Albany State University provides STEM resources for Teachers and Students alike within the Southwest Georgia area.  Kenton Meronard is a Biochemist by training and studies prostate cancer detection. 

Richard Whitfield is a professional problem solver with Club Car and leads a cross functional team that delivers unique and innovative solutions to real world problems faced by businesses, governments and individuals.  With his extensive engineering, project management and business experience he has personally developed or contributed to hundreds of major designs and thousands of smaller scale projects on six continents.  

Richard has supported the STEM Program at Martinez Elementary School as an advocate partner for two years providing the 4th grade students with a real word PBL. He knows  first-hand the importance of community partnerships and the benefits gained from the collaboration with teachers.  

10:30- 11:30 a.m.

STEM at Lanier High school: Rising Beyond Buzzwords

Michael Reilly, CDAT- STEM Teacher, Lanier High School

Join this session to hear the teachers at Lanier High School discuss their STEM journey and their creation of the CDAT program. The Center for Design and Technology (CDAT) STEM Program is a four-year program offered to all students at Lanier High School that prefer a project-based approach to learning. Teachers at Lanier High will share how they use cross-curricular, STEM-focused planning to promote and facilitate student use of 21st century skills to engage in authentic Project Based Learning opportunities. 


12:00- 1:00 p.m.

STEM/ STEAM Resources through CEISMC

Timothy Cone, Program Director, CEISMC Savannah Campus

The Center for Education Integrating Science Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC) at Georgia Tech has spent the last 30 years supporting teachers and students across the state. Join Tim as he covers all things FREE from across Georgia Tech as they relate to STEM/STEAM including curriculums for coding, math, science, and STEM at the K-12 level. 

Friday, June 12th

9:00-10:00 a.m.

Title IV, Part A: Opportunities for Student Support and Academic Enrichment

Charmaine Simmons, Title IV- A Education Program Specialist, Georgia Department of Education

This session will highlight key considerations in implementing Title IV, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by Every Student Succeeds Act.  In this session, the presenter will discuss STEM/STEAM opportunities Title IV, Part A offers to strengthen well-rounded education, safe and healthy students, and effective uses of technology.  Also, the session will look at strategies to use funds to support STEM/STEAM initiatives in districts/schools.  

10:30- 11:30 a.m.

Rural and Virtual: PBL Planning at Claxton Middle School

Samantha Keyfauver, Instructional Coach, Evans County School System

Lindsay Minis, Teacher, Claxton Middle School

Tiffany Robinson, Teacher, Claxton Middle School

Andrew Strickland, Teacher, Claxton Middle School

Claxton Middle School has recently begun planning a STEM and PBL approach for the 20-21 school year. Join this session to learn about how they are utilizing their rural Georgia community to contextualize and connect with their standards, and the steps they have followed in the PBL planning process, and how they continued facilitating PBL planning in a virtual space in the last quarter of the 19-20 school year. 

12:00- 1:00 p.m.

Apply what you learned and next steps

Allyson Morgan, First District STEM/ STEAM Specialist, Georgia Department of Education

Join this session to start transforming inspiring ideas you have learned about in the Virtual Summer Academy into an action plan framed within the context of your school and community. In this session, participants will rapid prototype an idea from the conference and share for feedback with the group. This concept could be replicated within your school community for brainstorming.

Recording for this session is not available. To request a facilitated rapid prototyping session from our team, please email Allyson Morgan: