Math and engineering teacher Karen Stohlmann received a $1,250 grant today for being awarded one of two Innovate Educator of the Year Awards from the Blue Valley Educational Foundation. This is Stohlmann’s second time receiving this award.
Executive Director of the Blue Valley Educational Foundation Anne Blessing said the Educational Foundation drafted an application for each Blue Valley school to nominate educators who use innovative practices in the classroom.
Principal Amy Murphy said she submitted the application for Stohlmann to receive the award because of her work with the STEM program and specifically the process she went through to create the all-girls POE class this year.
“There’s several things that she does,” Murphy said. “This work with the girls engineering program and trying to get more girls in engineering – that’s not a class or a program that’s done anywhere else in the district, so the fact that she has seen the need and not only the importance of engineering and getting kids interested in STEM, but really getting females interested in STEM.”
Stohlmann said receiving this award was humbling for her, as it shows that the district believes in her and wants to invest in her teaching.
“When you teach you are so alone sometimes, like you’re in this little room and you don’t know that anyone sees it, so it’s always surprising to me when people hear what happens in here,” Stohlmann said. “I appreciate that someone has taken the time to let other people know what I’m doing in (room) 907 and 813.”
Stohlmann said next year, BVNW will add on a third Principles of Engineering class, and the grant money will go toward supporting the demand for parts and storage for a third class. Blessing said she hopes the grant will allow Stohlmann to further extend her innovative educating practices.
“I hope that this will affirm the high esteem in which she is held here in Blue Valley and make her realize how much she is appreciated and give her energy and purpose as she goes forward,” Blessing said.