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STEM Expo Creators, Organizers Receive Recognition

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STEM Expo Creators, Organizers Receive Recognition
Posted on 11/19/2014

Portland Public Schools Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk this week honored five staff members who spearheaded the creation and organization of the school district’s first STEM Expo.

Recognized were Community Coordinators Kathy Cole and Tina Mikkelsen; Lincoln Middle School teacher Thomas Fournier; Executive Secretary Rebecca Dore; and Coordinator of Family & Community Engagement Chanda Turner.

“Tonight, I want to recognize five individuals for their work in the creation and execution of the STEM Exposition,” Caulk said at the Nov. 18 Board of Public Education meeting. “Without the organization and commitment from these key people, the event would not have been successful.”

 The Portland Public Schools, in partnership with EnviroLogix, on Nov. 10 held its first STEM Expo at the Ocean Gateway Terminal in Portland. The event, which showcased student learning in science, technology, engineering and math, drew about 1,200 visitors. Other local businesses and post-secondary institutions also participated.

Caulk thanked everyone who played a role in the success of STEM, ranging from business leaders to the Portland Public Schools’ Transportation Department.  But he said the event wouldn’t have been possible without the planning and organization of the five staff members.

The superintendent thanked Fournier, who served as the district’s STEM Coordinator during the 2013-2014 school year, for “his work in laying the foundation for this great event.”

Caulk said Fournier “laid the groundwork for the STEM Exposition developing the format, selecting the location, and hatching the concept of connecting our students with post secondary and businesses in an environment where they share learning as equals. Thom also made the initial connections with schools, teachers, post-secondary institutions, and businesses that participated in the exposition.”

Then, Caulk said, Community Coordinators Cole and Mikkelsen “stepped in at a critical juncture and took the STEM Exposition to a whole new level. Kathy and Tina brought their logistical planning expertise along with their extensive contacts within the schools and community to make the STEM Exposition an amazing success. We thank Kathy and Tina for all of their tireless work planning, recruiting, organizing, and running the event.”

Dore, Central Office executive secretary, on the day of the event “made sure things ran smoothly at the Ocean Gateway Terminal and that our students and business and community partners had an optimal experience. We thank Becky for her constant support and team-player approach every day, and particularly in making the STEM Exposition a success,” Caulk said.

He called Turner “one of the founders of the STEM event” and said that “her insight, organization, and leadership were a huge factor in the success of this event.”

Caulk and Portland Board of Public Education Chair Sarah Thompson thanked each of the five staff members individually, presenting each with a certificate recognizing their efforts in making the exposition a success.