Greenon schools STEM teacher selected for prestigious fellowship program

Thomas Jenkins, STEM teacher at Greenon Local Schools (far left) with the Lemelson-MIT Foundation InvenTeam, who was granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for their invention of an animal-friendly net system to reduce manmade debris in local waterways. The team was also recognized by Laurie Stevenson, the Director of the Ohio EPA, for the potential environmental impact of their patented invention. Contributed

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Thomas Jenkins, STEM teacher at Greenon Local Schools (far left) with the Lemelson-MIT Foundation InvenTeam, who was granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for their invention of an animal-friendly net system to reduce manmade debris in local waterways. The team was also recognized by Laurie Stevenson, the Director of the Ohio EPA, for the potential environmental impact of their patented invention. Contributed

A Greenon Local School District STEM teacher has been selected for a prestigious fellowship program.

Thomas Jenkins was selected to serve as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow for the 2022-23 school year, the district announced in a release.

Jenkins was one of 15 STEM teachers across the nation to be selected for this program. He will be hosted by the Department of Defense Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division.

“Through his tireless pursuit of opportunities and resources, Mr. Jenkins demonstrates to our Greenon Knights every day just how far their passion and hard work can take them,” said Superintendent Darrin Knapke. “We are proud of his selection as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Fellow and look forward to seeing how his new adventure will be shared with his students to inspire them in the classroom and beyond.”

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The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program provides an opportunity for K-12 STEM educators to apply their classroom knowledge and experiences to their host offices to inform federal STEM education efforts, the release stated. Federal agencies and U.S. Congressional Offices will benefit from fellows’ real-world experiences as educators, and fellows will gain an understanding of the federal government’s role in U.S. education, knowledge of resources available to students and educators, and boarder perspectives on national education issues.

“I always want my students to know that although we may be a small school, there are big opportunities out there for them,” Jenkins said. “I’m honored to be able to share this incredible experience with my students and colleagues and to incorporate it into my classroom to continue creating engaging STEM learning opportunities for Greenon students.”

During the 2022-23 school year, Jenkins will take a paid leave from Greenon to spend 11 months in Washington, D.C., for professional development and to explore future opportunities.

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Jenkins has taught for 25 years, including 23 years at Greenon. He received his bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in science teaching from Wright State University, and a secondary engineering degree from the University of Cincinnati.

This fellowship is only one of Jenkins’ many initiatives he has pursued. In January 2022, the Greenon InvenTeam, a group of teachers and students led by Jenkins, was granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for their invention of an animal-friendly net system to reduce manmade debris in local waterways. The team was also recognized by the Director of the Ohio EPA for the potential environmental impact of their patented invention.

Jenkins was named the 2021 Ohio State Board of Education District 10 Teacher of the Year and a finalist for both 2021 Ohio State Teacher of the Year and 2021 Ohio Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. He also received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Springfield Rotary Club in 2020.

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