Ken Huff chosen to serve as STEM Teacher Ambassador

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) announced that Kenneth L. Huff, a middle school science teacher at Williamsville Central School District in Williamsville, New York, was one of 10 math and science teacher leaders selected to serve as a 2017 STEM Teacher Ambassador. The program aims to empower teacher leaders to develop the necessary skills to effectively communicate the realities of their classrooms to stakeholders.

Huff joined colleagues—all recipients of the Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST)—for an intensive communications, media, and policy training created by NSTA and NCTM designed to expand the classroom teacher voice at the local, state, and national levels.

During the weeklong training the ambassadors met with inside-the-beltway leaders to discuss major issues including key federal STEM programs, professional learning and growth, equity, standards, and assessments. They received rigorous media training and learned how to conduct media interviews and write op-eds; communicate more effectively and deliver key messages to the public; communicate new research results in STEM education; engage with local and state officials; and use social media to amplify messaging.

In addition to the training, NSTA and NCTM will provide ongoing organizational and professional support via the NSTA Learning Center. Through the NSTA Learning Center, the STEM Ambassadors will share work, track speaking engagements, and access important materials, including NSTA and NCTM white papers, policy information, news clips, articles, and research studies of importance. 

A dedicated member of the science education community, Huff began his professional career as a classroom science teacher in New York in 1993. A national board certified teacher in early adolescence science, Huff also serves on the New York State Education Department’s science education steering committee and leads a Young Astronaut Council for students in grades 5-8 at his school.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Huff serves as the middle level science teaching division director on NSTA’s board of directors; co-chairs The National Academies’ Teacher Advisory Council; is the director of professional development for the Science Teachers Association of New York State; is a member of the National Science Education Leadership Association Professional Development Committee; serves on The College Board’s Pre-AP Science Development Committee; and is an inaugural fellow and teacher forum member of 100Kin10. Huff is also past president of the Association of Presidential Awardees in Science Teaching and served on the writing team for the Next Generation Science Standards.

Huff is the recipient of several awards and accolades, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award, NSTA Robert E. Yager Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award, NSTA PASCO STEM Educator Award, NSTA Outstanding Aerospace Educator Award, and a Toyota Tapestry grant. He is the recipient of the Douglas B. Seager Award for Outstanding Contributions to Science Education, Science Teachers Association of New York State Excellence in Science Teaching Award, Educator Achievement Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and has been inducted into the Crown Circle for Aerospace Education Leadership by the National Congress on Aviation & Space Education.

This year’s cohort of teacher leaders was chosen from a pool of more than 130 PAEMST winners. The STEM Ambassadors were selected on the basis of several criteria, including showing evidence of teacher leadership; a solid background in science, math, and STEM education; and displaying a strong interest in growing as a professional STEM educator. 

More information about the program and a complete list of the 2017 STEM Teacher Ambassadors can be found here.

This program is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1554059. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.