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Wed, Aug 16, 2023

2023 A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Educator of the Year Named

Virginia Teacher to be Honored

The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF)—a Dayton, Ohio-based institution founded to inspire appreciation of the United States’ extraordinary aviation heritage—has announced Megan Tucker, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) Specialist and Dean of Curriculum at Hillsboro Charter Academy in Hillsboro, Virginia, has been named the NAHF’s 2023 A. Scott Crossfield Educator of the Year.

Founded in 1986 by NAHF enshrinee Scott Crossfield, the A. Scott Crossfield Educator of the Year Award is a juried annual competition undertaken for purpose of recognizing a teacher’s exemplary use of aerospace in classroom and curricula. Crossfield, who was inducted into the NAHF in 1983, was a renowned and eminently capable test-pilot, research-pilot, and aerospace researcher. Crossfield’s tests with pressurized suits led to the development of the modern space-suit.

The winning nomination was made by Ms. Susan Mallett, Aerospace/STEM Education Outreach Coordinator for Civil Air Patrol and 1992 Crossfield Educator of the Year. In her nomination, Mallett set forth: “Megan is one of those unique treasures who never stops thinking of ways to help others understand, feel valued, and seek to accomplish great things. She is the epitome of a teacher who Scott Crossfield was speaking of when he looked for teachers 'who possessed those honorable attributes we expect from American teachers.'”

In support of Tucker’s nomination, Hillsboro, Virginia, Mayor Roger Vance stated: "As well as being at the forefront of building an award-winning STEM-based curriculum, Megan has infused aviation and aerospace education into a wide spectrum of the school’s teaching regime that enriches traditional subjects and creates an extraordinary level of awareness and knowledge among the young scholars. Megan has ensured that the themes of aerospace engineering are key components in the classroom, and she has demonstrated boundless creativity in activities and projects to encourage and enhance the teaching of aerospace.”

Tucker’s teaching career spans nearly two-decades in Florida, California, and Virginia elementary and middle schools. Over that span of years, she developed engaging science and space curricula; and programs benefiting schools, faculties, and national organizations. Tucker has been instrumental in the development of curriculum at Hillsboro Charter Academy, where she’s taught STEAM subjects—with an over-arching emphasis on aerospace, technology, and engineering—to students ranging from kindergarteners to fifth-graders. She has implemented numerous special student programs and collaborated with organizations such as NASA, CAP, AIAA, Project Lead the Way, SeaPerch (underwater robotics), the Space Foundation, and the ISS National Lab’s Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). During the COVID-19 exigency, Tucker ensured the entirety of her school’s students were provided weekly STEAM instruction via Tucker Tuesday online sessions.

Blue Origin vice-president of government sales Lars Hoffman and Path 2 Flight founder and CEO Jill Rutan Hoffman jointly wrote: “What sets Megan apart is not only her ability to effectively teach aviation and STEAM concepts, but also her commitment to the holistic development of her students. She understands the importance of instilling confidence, perseverance, and a growth mindset in her students, encouraging them to pursue their dreams and overcome challenges.”

Tucker has earned honors and awards such as inclusion among a group of twenty teachers selected in 2022 for the Limitless Space Institute’s Educator Program;  being named 2021’s National AFA/Rolls Royce Aerospace/STEM Teacher of the Year and 2020’s Virginia State Air & Space Forces Teacher of the Year; and receiving 2020’s Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Grant.

NAHF awards chair Mr. Frank Craven remarked: “Ms. Tucker’s nomination was unanimously selected for the 2023 Crossfield Award. After reviewing her extraordinary list of career accomplishments, previous Crossfield winners were truly impressed. Megan's addition brings honor to this already prestigious group of educators.”

Tucker will receive the A. Scott Crossfield Educator of the Year Award on 21 September 2023 during the President's Reception portion of the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s 59th Enshrinement ceremonies. Over six-hundred people are expected to attend the two-day Washington D.C. event, which features the formal installment of the NAHF Enshrinee Class of 2023. 

FMI: www.nationalaviation.org

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