AFA Announces 2014 National Teacher of the Year

22 Jul, 2014, 14:56 ET from Air Force Association

ARLINGTON, Va., July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Air Force Association (AFA) is proud to announce Kaci Heins, a dedicated teacher at Northland Preparatory Academy in Flagstaff, AZ, as the recipient of the 2014 National Teacher of the Year Award.

Mrs. Heins distinguished herself by integrating aerospace into her classroom, school and community. Her entire science curriculum has NASA and STEM engineering design challenges integrated to provide hands-on and real world experiences for her 6th grade students. Some of these engineering projects include solar ovens, wind turbine design, heat shield testing, water filtration, plant growth chambers, balloon rockets and high altitude ballooning. The overall goal of this project-based learning is to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

After school, this continues with Mrs. Heins coaching the schools' Lego Robotics teams and presenting at science conferences across the country. Mrs. Heins is passionate about sharing her classroom experiences to inspire other teachers in bringing more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to their classrooms.

In the words of her principal, "Mrs. Heins lives science education and seeks to do projects that impact our students and our community." As AFA's National TOY, the theme of Mrs. Heins's message to other educators will be "Dare Mighty Things Through STEM Education." 

As AFA's National Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Heins will receive a $3,000 cash award. First runner-up, Michael Steebler of Frazier High School in Perryopolis, Pennsylvania, will receive $2,000 and second runner-up, Jeff Scott of Washington High School in Tacoma, Washington, will receive $1,000.

The $3,000 award will be presented to Mrs. Heins in September at AFA's Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center near Washington, D.C.  The National Teacher of the Year award recognizes classroom teachers at the national level for their achievements in building enthusiasm among K-12 students about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and preparing them to use these skills and contribute to tomorrow's technologies. For more information contact Shannon Aud at

The Air Force Association is a non-profit, independent, professional military and aerospace education association. Our mission is to promote a dominant United States Air Force and a strong national defense, and to honor Airmen and our Air Force Heritage. To accomplish this, we:

  • EDUCATE the public on the critical need for unmatched aerospace power and a technically superior workforce to ensure U.S. national security.
  • ADVOCATE for aerospace power and STEM education.
  • SUPPORT the Total Air Force family and promote aerospace education.

AFA has 200 chapters nationally and internationally representing 100,000 members. Visit AFA at

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SOURCE Air Force Association