ImaginED Georgia, an Atlanta-founded non-profit education innovation cluster (EIC), hosted the 2021 Innovative Educator Awards to honor education professionals in Georgia who continue to drive innovation across the education ecosystem while navigating the resource disparities that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Twelve individuals working across the education sector were recognized for their resiliency during the unprecedented 2020-2021 school year, continued commitment to student success, and innovative practices that encourage educational equity.
During the 2021 Innovative Educator Awards, ImaginED Georgia acknowledged award recipients for their achievements in the following categories: educational equity, innovation in education, design thinking, educator support, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)/ STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), and community involvement.
Award winners were nominated by their peers and members of their communities and selected from a panel of judges. The 2021 recipients of ImaginED Georgia’s Innovative Educator Awards are as follows.
For their contributions to advancing equity across Georgia’s education landscape:
Monique Nunnally, founder of TeachX
Rachel Willis, founder of Elevating Equity
For creating new and progressive technologies, institutions, or organizations for educators and students:
Ian Cohen, founder of TARA EdTech
Mikala Streeter, founder and principal of The Life School
For encouraging design thinking and problem-solving in the classroom:
Shaunice Sasser, instructional designer at Rex Mill Middle STEM School
Rajini Sundararaj, teacher at Martha Ellen Stilwell School of the Arts
For providing instructional support to educators:
Erin Cottman, founder of Erinn Cottman Teacher Development
Claudine Miles, founder of Restore More™
For promoting STEM/ STEAM in educational programming:
Andrea Miller, STEM instructional coach
Jason Paggett, founder of JJK Innovations and teacher at Clayton County Public Schools
For being involved in the community:
Lillian Mitchell, teacher at Babb Middle School
Kacey Venning, founder of Helping Empower Youth (HEY!)
“We believe recognizing the work of those driving innovation inside and outside of the classroom is necessary because innovation promotes equity, and in turn creates opportunities for students,” said Martin Chaplin, CEO of ImaginED Georgia. “The efforts shown by these individuals prove that creating solutions for Georgia’s diverse student populations is an achievable milestone we can reach together. We’re so proud of the work being done here by local changemakers, and we know that together, we can continue to create with Georgia’s students in mind. Congratulations again to all of this year’s award recipients.”
The 2021 event was hosted on Saturday, July 17 at KITT Labs, a co-development studio founded by Black technologists to create opportunity by providing access to education and innovation in technology.
“We’re proud that KITT Labs was able to host ImaginED Georgia’s first Innovative Educator Awards,” said Zach Farley, Co-founder at KITT Labs. “Leveraging education and innovation to build equity is key to our mission, and we applaud this year’s recipients for the work they are doing in this space, as well as ImaginED Georgia for championing recognizing the importance of these efforts.”
Additional sponsors of the event included:
Equity in Education Atlanta, a nonprofit advocacy organization focused on advancing leaders and policies committed to eliminating injustices across the Atlanta public education system.
Educators Now, an organization that staffs qualified educators and school staff on a temporary, long-term, or permanent basis.
EDCOM HQ, a virtual community platform created to establish a coalition of educators of color, change agents, advocates, and community stakeholders.
To learn more about ImaginED Georgia’s work to improve and innovate Georgia’s education ecosystem, visit https://imaginedga.org/
About ImaginED Georgia
Founded in 2019, ImaginED Georgia is a Georgia-based education innovation cluster (EdCluster/ EIC). The EdCluster aims to curate a local ecosystem of educators, innovators, investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, companies, and local education stakeholders to collaboratively address challenges in Georgia's K-12 education and leverage technology and innovation to produce equity-focused solutions for Georgia's diverse student populations. ImaginED Georgia's intent to help close Georgia's achievement gap is guided by seven core values: equity, innovation, design thinking, community, educator support, personalized solutions, and creating with Georgia in mind.
To learn more about ImaginED Georgia, visit https://imaginedga.org/ and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter @GeorgiaImaginED, and Facebook + Instagram @imaginedGA.