KPC process technology instructor wins national recognition

Around Campus

Posted: Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Center for the Advancement of Process Technology (CAPT), part of the National Science Foundation, has awarded Kenai River Campus process technology instructor David Spann the Trailblazer’s Educator of the Year Award. Spann accepted the award at CAPT’s annual Critical Issues and Best Practices Conference held Oct. 5 in Houston. This is the inaugural year for the award.

According to Spann, CAPT has chapters in 20 regions with over 30 colleges and training centers represented. KPC has been a member of the organization since 1999. The focus of CAPT is to help educators in the process industry prepare their students for the workforce. Process industries include upstream and downstream oil and gas facilities, chemical plants, pharmaceutical production facilities and various food and beverage plants.

Joanna Perkins, outreach coordinator for CAPT, provided comments that were made about Spann in the nomination process for the award.

“For the past two summers, David has gone the extra mile to facilitate the summer faculty institutes in Alaska for his fellow instructors. He has made sure that the time was well spent in areas of interest for each participant,” said Tommie Broome from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

“David is foremost a teacher, with his students’ success as the primary focus. David’s greatest fans are his students, many of whom we have hired,” Dave Rees of BP Alaska said.

Spann was self-effacing about receiving the award.

“Because CAPT is made up of educators whom I see go above and beyond the ordinary, it was truly humbling to be recognized by them. My concern has always centered on my students and the process technology program; this award was just a bonus,” he said.

New Project GRAD staff in the Learning Center

Project GRAD, according to its Web site, is a national program that serves more than 130,000 at risk youth in more than 200 of the nation’s most disadvantaged public schools. The program, established more than 10 years ago in Texas, seeks to improve the academic achievement of students from low-income backgrounds.

The program is built around the concept that the same approach to the teaching of reading, mathematics, and classroom management in all schools, at all grade levels (K-12) be the same. The goal of this approach is to create a coherent and comprehensive educational experience for students as they move through the system.

The basic skills that students master form the foundation for continued high academic standards in the humanities, natural sciences, technology, social sciences and the arts.

Project GRAD programs across the country are seeing students with higher grades and test results, more positive student attitudes and improved behavior in the classroom. Parents with children in the program tend to be more directly involved in their children’s education.

Project GRAD high school graduation rates are also higher and these graduates attend college, with greater graduation rates than other comparable schools.

The Learning Center at Kenai Peninsula College works within the Project GRAD grant framework, with an Americorp volunteer working on the program. Jodi Stuart, a 25-year peninsula resident, has recently been hired for the position. Stuart also works as an adult basic education instructor in the Learning Center.

Stuart is a former KPC student who went on to UAA where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. Stuart then obtained her secondary education certification at UAF.

Stuart says, “I am excited to work with the Learning Center again. I tutored here during my second year of college and I loved the environment. Project GRAD is a great program. It was created to assist students in reaching a potential they might not have known they had. I am thrilled to work with two schools, Ninilchik and Tyonek. The staffs at both schools are great.”

There will be a Project GRAD “Family Night” from 3:30-5 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the Ninilchik School. For more information, contact Jodi Stuart at 262-0327.

Diane Taylor, Learning Center coordinator, said, “I am thrilled that Jodi is back. She was a former student who tutored other students in the Learning Center while she was here. This is a great opportunity and I will enjoy watching her grow professionally.”

This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College.

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