Paducah Middle School teacher selected as Outstanding Teacher

Published: May. 6, 2014 at 8:52 PM CDT
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PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - A Paducah Middle School sixth grade science teacher was named the 2013-2014 Challenger Learning Center at Paducah's Outstanding Educator during a surprise presentation at the school's teacher staff meeting on May 5.

Staff from the Challenger Center recognized Tessa Hooks as the center's eighth outstanding educator. During the presentation, Hooks received a framed certificate and a $100 gift certificate for science and math supplies donated by Travis School Equipment in Draffenville. In addition, Paducah Public Schools receives one free mission for the 2014-2015 school year to the Challenger Learning Center at Paducah.

"The Challenger Learning Center program is a comprehensive educational experience for students," Duncan said. "We created this annual award to show our appreciation to the educators who help make our program so successful. We are excited to present this award to Ms. Hooks."

Stacey Overlin, Paducah Middle School principal, nominated Hooks for this award because "she is a gifted young educator with an unusual ability to engage her students in learning science."

Overlin said Hooks incorporates the Challenger Learning Center program into her daily science lessons.

Duncan said several nominations were received from area schools. Numerous criterions were included in the nomination forms including "shows enthusiasm for math, science and/or technology education and incorporates innovative teaching strategies into their curriculum. "

The Challenger Learning Center at Paducah is one in a network of over 45 centers worldwide. The concept of the Challenger Centers came from the families of the astronauts lost in the Challenger accident. The center in Paducah, located on the campus of West Kentucky Community and Technical College, is a result of a partnership between the college and Paducah Junior College, Inc., the foundation for WKCTC.

For more information about the center, visit

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