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NEWS RELEASES 1999-00 :: MAY 26, 2000


Michele (Shelly) Heath, an eighth grade science teacher at McDougle Middle School in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro City School System, was named the 2000 North Carolina Christa McAuliffe Fellow in state-level judging held May 23 at the NC Department of Public Instruction. State Superintendent Mike Ward presented Heath with the prestigious award.

Next school year, Heath will receive $22,912 to implement her program proposal, Spinning Our Own Web, which will help link together the many facets of the school community in addition to creating two new student elective courses incorporating communication technology. The main objective of Heath's project is to improve communication within the school community while strengthening the technological skills of students and staff.

Heath said receipt of the award was a tremendous honor for herself and the school. "The monetary award will enable us to develop two new elective courses &endash; web master and videography. The technology skills that students learn in these classes will help them compete when they graduate."

A National Board Certified Teacher, Heath has been a teacher at McDougle Middle School since 1994. She is a member of the national and state Science Teachers Associations and has spent her last six summers as a workshop coordinator for MAST. Heath is a member of McDougle's Technology Committee, a mentor for an initially certified teacher, and a clinical teacher for the Middle Schools Program, School of Education, UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Christa McAuliffe Fellowship Program is administered by the Council of Chief State School Officers and state education departments in memory of the first teacher in space. She and other members of the space shuttle Challenger crew were tragically killed in the 1986 shuttle accident. The Fellowship program provides funds to experienced and outstanding public and non-public school teachers for special projects, partnerships, sabbaticals or other programs. Recipients apply to be considered for the award and outline how they would use the award money.

Other state finalists, who will each receive $1,666, include:

  • Tracye Vanstory, Stony Point Elementary, Alexander County Schools;
  • Ann Yochem, North Mecklenburg High, Charlotte/Meckenburg Schools; and
  • Joyce Poplin, Nebo Elementary, McDowell County Schools.

For further information on the Christa McAuliffe Fellowship Program, please contact Chris Godwin, Teacher Education, DPI, 919.714.1147.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.