Through the years, a couple thousand teachers have completed MetroRESA’a GaTAPP program to receive their teaching certificate. Class by class, student by student, these teachers are making a lifelong difference in the lives of tens of thousands of children. One such teacher who is empowering his students every day and giving them opportunities for greater success is Lt. Col. Stephen Williams.
Mr. Williams is a retired Air Force Fighter Pilot, Instructor Pilot, Flight Simulator Instructor and retired Captain for Northwest Airlines. Now he is putting his extensive career experience to work by sharing his knowledge with students at Conyers Middle School as the Aerospace Engineering teacher.
Living in Marietta, Mr. Williams has a 56-mile commute each way to school! He completed the GaTAPP program through MetroRESA last year to become certified. “Going through MetroRESA was terrific. The support I got was fantastic. They really helped out and were flexible,” says Williams.
Mr. Williams teaches 6th through 8th grade, with one class a day of 5th grade. Next year, plans are to expand the Aerospace Studies program to a Rockdale County High School, at which time, students will be able to go from 5th grade all the way through graduation with the specialty. They will have the education and training needed to enter into an aerospace apprenticeship, career, or continued studies.
Developing the course curriculum himself using Civil Air Patrol STEM guidelines, the hands-on, real-life application in this classroom is simply incredible. Thanks to grants and partnerships, the program has grown quickly. Last year, 80 students at the Title 1 school were accepted, and this year they had space for 110 students. Technology and equipment is a vital part of the program’s success. Mr. Williams received the Snapping Shoals EMC Grant twice and the Foundation Grant from Rockdale County Schools to help fund classroom equipment, computer labs, and manufacturing and design labs. CMS now has a fully-equipped 25-seat flight simulator lab with two Redbird TD2 Flight Simulators. With this year’s grant, they are adding a Drone Lab with 25 drones. Students will prepare for the FAA Drone Pilot Exam, which includes topics such as aerodynamics, sectional charts, airspace, weather, communications, flight ops, and weight and balance. The drones also enforce concepts such as the laws of forces, Newton’s Law and Bernoulli’s Principle.
Several key partners also contribute to the program’s success. “Delta has been exceptionally responsive to our program,” says Mr. Williams. Not only have they provided monetary funds, but they have also sponsored between 20 and 40 students each year for an all-expense-paid, week-long summer camp in Pensacola, FL. The week starts with a Delta flight from Atlanta to Pensacola. Students spend the week working in teams as they learn and explore at the National Flight Academy. (Click Here to read more)
In his very first year teaching middle school, Mr. Williams was selected as the CMS Outstanding Technology Teacher of the Year. We are proud of Mr. Williams and his commitment to serve the students of Rockdale County at Conyers Middle School. Thank you for your dedication to your students. Thank you for sharing your real-world experiences and bringing partnerships that will make a lifelong difference for these students. Thank you for the opportunities you are opening for them. And thank you for making the 56-mile commute to school!
To learn more about the Aerospace Engineering Studies and the Center for Technology and Engineering at Conyers Middle School, visit their website: www.cmsaerospace.com.