Milton M. Somers Middle School teacher David Wood developed a love for space, science and math at a young age. “I was always into space and math as a kid. I liked to use math and science to figure out connections and how things worked,” he said. Fast forward to 2017 and Wood is in his ninth year teaching Algebra to seventh- and eighth-grade students at Somers. He serves as the math department chair and enjoys tying space and science into his lessons for students to help them visualize and learn real-world applications.
To further his passion for math and science, Wood recently applied to the Space Foundation’s Flight of Teacher liaison program. He was the only Maryland teacher selected for the 2017 program and one of only 28 teachers chosen nationwide. Wood said he was ecstatic when he learned he was chosen for the program. “The experience of being selected is surreal. I get to go to Colorado, and learn from leaders in space such as Neil deGrasse Tyson,” Wood added.
The Space Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Colorado Springs that supports space activities, space professionals and education. Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) has maintained a partnership with the Space Foundation for the past 11 years that includes summer professional development opportunities for teachers in all subject areas, co-teaching in the classroom with Space Foundation specialists and Educational Exchange events in which guests from organizations such as NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration serve as guest speakers. Through the partnership, the Space Foundation helped CCPS expand its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum.
As a teacher liaison, Wood will attend the Space Foundation’s annual Space Symposium planned for April 3-6 in Colorado Springs. Wood, along with the other 27 new program liaisons, will be formally recognized at the event. Teacher liaisons also serve as a link between the Space Foundation, NASA, their school and their school system.
The teacher liaison program was launched by the Space Foundation in 2002 and more than 30 CCPS teachers have participated. Wood was chosen for the program by a panel comprised of experienced teacher liaisons, and representatives from the U.S. Air Force Academy and space industry. The program is funded by Lockheed Martin.
Wood started his career with CCPS in 2008 as a math teacher at Somers. Last year, CCPS and the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) recognized Wood as a 2016 Outstanding Mathematics Teacher of the Year. During his tenure at Somers, he has sponsored the Lego Robotics club and chess team, and coached both the boys and girls track teams.
Wood helps to write curriculum, formative assessment questions and presents at school- and countywide professional development sessions. He is enrolled in the CCPS Leadership Extension Application and Development (LEAP) program, which supports teachers interested in pursuing administrative opportunities.
To learn more about the Space Foundation’s teacher liaison program, visit https://www.discoverspace.org/.