CSTA and Infosys Foundation USA are proud to announce the winners of the 2021 CSTA/Infosys Foundation USA CS Teaching Excellence Awards. These winners demonstrate their excellent work inspiring students to explore the computer science field; effectively engage students in learning rigorous, standards-aligned, computer science content; and a focus on broadening participation of underrepresented students in computing.

National Winners

Mary Ann Cassidy HeadshotMary Ann Cassidy
Fernwood Avenue Middle School, New Jersey

Teaching is my second career. I worked at the casinos in Atlantic City prior to teaching. I obtained my BS in Business Education at Montclair University and always pictured myself running a school store and teaching cooperative education. Unfortunately, funds were low and I graduated without receiving my teaching certification. I was successful in the business field and left the industry as Director of Entertainment. But I can say, I never looked back.
I obtained my MBA from Monmouth University and have been teaching computers at Fernwood Avenue Middle School for the last sixteen years. I ran the Coding club as an afternoon program. As Tech Integration teacher, I was able to incorporate Computer Science by using Ozobots in science classes, Minecraft in Social Studies lessons and Scratch in English and Math classes. This became my pathway into Coding. I presently teach 7th & 8th grade Coding. 
Coding was made an elective two years ago and it was then that I joined the South Jersey CSTA chapter where I became part of a network of Computer Science teachers. I attended CSTA in Omaha where I learned about micro:bits, Quorum workshop in Washington where I learned how to teach my blind student coding, and  Rutgers Computer in Box where I learned about Finch robots. I learned how to teach Python with CMU Academy and took the Duke University course on Coursera to learn how to teach Alice. 
While at EHT, I was Teacher of the Year, participated in NJTAP, infusing technology into curriculum classes, and part of the District Technology Committee. I have taught numerous PD workshops. I have participated on the technology committee for Atlantic County Collaborative Curriculum, and presented at CSTA South Jersey. I was Student Council Advisor, but this year became the NJHS Advisor. My pronoun is she.

Kathy Effner HeadshotKathy Effner 
Parsippany High School, New Jersey

Kathy is the Lead Math Teacher at Parsippany High School in Parsippany, New Jersey. She graduated from Montclair State College with BS in Computer Science and a minor in Math. Kathy got her MBA in Management from Fairleigh Dickinson University. After working in industry and raising her children she earned her teaching certificate from Ramapo University. 
When Kathy started teaching Computer Science 7 years ago, there was only one AP CSA class of 10 students. It has been her mission to grow the Computer Science department in the district because she feels that every student should not only have access to Computer Science, every student should take a course in Computer Science. Kathy worked with her supervisor to apply for and attend the CS4ALL PD and they are working to increase equity and access in their district. To that end, she has worked to increase the number of computer courses and has developed a program that is available to all students.  Parsippany now has 7 Computer Science courses. Kathy has encouraged 5 more teachers to take on teaching CS courses she started the Redbots robotics team 5 years ago.
Exposure to the real-world is critical in the area of Computer Science. Every year Kathy arranges for speakers to speak with her classes from companies like Pixar and Microsoft as well as some of her former students who are in college. The more information about the real-world our students can be exposed to, the more prepared they will be. Kathy feels very strongly that her students need to have unique experiences to help them decide what they would like to study as well as to help them stand out from the crowd. Kathy is excited to think about the amazing opportunities that are available to her students.

Tamieka Grizzle Dr. Tamika Grizzle 
Mableton Elementary School, Douglasville, Georgia 

Dr. Tamieka Grizzle is the Innovation Specialist at Mableton Elementary School, a Title I, STEM and STEAM certified school in the Cobb County School District in Georgia. Prior to that, she taught 4th and 5th grades, became intrigued with STEM in 2016, and initiated a K-5 STEM Lab at her previous Title I elementary school, Harmony Leland. Addressing the need for representation of minoritized groups and greater diversity in STEM careers, she used her STEM lab instruction to integrate coding and robotics across disciplines such as English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science. To make computer science engaging, interesting, and equitable for her students, Dr. Grizzle ensured lessons were culturally relevant by centering specifically on students’ experiences from culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds. Whether or not her students pursue a degree or find a job in computer science, she knows that studying computer science will develop transferable skills applicable to life skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity. For students to develop these real-world, on-the-job skills, Dr. Grizzle sponsored several coding and robotics after school clubs in grade bands for K-1, 2-3, 4-5, an all-girls coding and robotics club, and competition clubs such as the Dash and Dot Wonder League and the Sphero Mission competition. Her students used Ozobots to retell a narrative; Sphero to navigate through a student-created water cycle;  Bee-Bots to identify geometric shapes; ScratchJr app to explain scientific concepts, and Scratch to create video games. Other coding activities involved the use of Osmo Coding, Osmo Coding Jam, KIBO, Dash and Dot, m-Bots, and LEGO WeDO 2.0. Dr. Grizzle’s greatest accomplishment to date was her elementary robotics team winning an all-expense paid flight and trip to Houston, TX to compete against middle schoolers in the Sphero Mission robotics competition at the Space Center Houston. Her team won Most Creative Codes. 

Benadette Manning 
Boston Public Schools, Boston, Massachusetts 

Ms. Benadette Manning is a math and computer science teacher. She has been teaching for over a quarter of a century. She received a bachelor’s degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Wisconsin and a master's degree in Education from Harvard University.  She is National Board Certified and twice runner up for the Presidential Award for Math and Science Teaching.  
In  2000 she got involved in the STEM movement. She realized that there were few people of color in STEM and she wanted to change that. Computer science is not required in her schools so she decided to infuse technology and coding into her math and advisory classes. 
In the last 15 years, she took as many professional development courses as she could.  She learned Scratch and Lego Robotics- teaching students Scratch in an elective course and forming robotics teams for over 10 years with students who had no experience. She learned how to code with  MicroBits and Arduino hardware.   She convinced the math department to participate in One Hour of Code during computer science week- for the entire week!  Last year she planned an online community program for her school to honor Computer Science week, on Zoom. 
Currently, she teaches coding one day a week in math class where her students make websites that reflect the focus of the math class such as entrepreneurship or housing. Her focus is to develop a balance of diverse groups in the professional computer science field. To that end, her goal is to train many young men of color in coding and urging those who want to make coding their career to attend boot camps or a college that supports this population.  

Monika Moorman 
Central Park Elementary, Plantation, Florida 

Monika Moorman has been an educator for over 20 years in grades ranging from first to adult education in both general and gifted settings. She has spent the last three years teaching fourth grade at Central Park Elementary, Florida. Originally from Poland, she completed her M.Ed. in international teaching at Framingham State University, MA. She is a proud re-certified NBCT in early and middle childhood literacy. Monika is a STEM, computer science, and environmental education advocate, a Solar System Ambassador with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Teacher Liaison with the Space Foundation, and National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward.
Over the years, she has sponsored a variety of afterschool endeavors including Robotics Club, VEX IQ, SECME, Math Club, Solar Car League, ArcGIS digital mapping Club, and Green Team, to name a few. Recently, she has been selected to a highly competitive national cohort tasked with creating the K-12 Cybersecurity Learning Standards. Earlier this year, Monika has been named Broward County Public Schools 2021 Teacher of the Year (Broward being the sixth-largest school district in the country).
Monika’s classroom has been considered an exemplar of a student-centered interdisciplinary elementary environment, all while integrating computer science, coding and cybersecurity education. She has successfully incorporated physical computing into every subject area which she believes has been instrumental in boosting student engagement, improving academic and social-emotional skills, and supporting critical thinking. Upon entering her classroom, one is sure to witness students applying creative robotics including micro:bit projects, Humming Bird technologies, Makey Makey, Scratch, cyber:bots, Python curriculum with Firia Labs, and more. 
Monika continues to advocate for and support underrepresented groups of students to learn computer programming. She volunteers to train and guide students to participate in state, national and international creative computing competitions which include NASEF Minecraft Challenges and VEX IQ. She successfully pursues various funding opportunities to obtain robotics equipment and licensing for the STEM clubs at her locations.

Regina NadbielnyRegina Nadbielny 
Scholars Academy, Orange, New Jersey 

Regina Nadbielny is the gifted and talented STEM Teacher at Scholars Academy in Orange, New Jersey for K-5. Prior to teaching, she was a Computer Programmer on Wall Street for 11 years. Regina was an integral part of the team that revised and advocated for the implementation of the K-12 NJ CS standards. 
Regina is passionate about providing real-world CS activities starting in kindergarten. In addition to coding and robotics Regina arranges virtual field trips and brings in role models and experts that look like her students. 
Regina advocates for equitable access to educational technology and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students. She won grants for technology including drones, micro:bits, Spheros, Dash robots, Chibitronics and more. Using DonorsChoose she has obtained Lego WeDo 2.0’s and Sony KOOV Robotics. Regina works in a Title 1 district where many of her students face economic challenges. She is making a difference in the lives of many students who would not otherwise learn CS.
Regina earned a National Geographic Educator Certification and taught her students to code and fly drones as part of a research project.  In addition, her students used Scratch and Makey Makey to tell the stories of persons of interest during Black and Women’s History months. Regina designs her own curriculum. She has taught CS to ELL and students with behavioral disabilities. 
She is an active member of the NJ CSTA,  a trustee in the NJ Association for Gifted Children and part of the Apple Community Education Initiative. Regina received the Orange Board of Education Superintendent’s Employee of the Year and NJAGC Teacher of the Year Awards. She graduated from NYU with a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics and received her MA from Seton Hall University with a concentration in Instructional Design and Technology.

Kyle Pierre 
NYC Department of Education, Greens Village, New York 

Kyle Pierre is a certified Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher for the NYC Department of Education. He received a Regents Diploma from Thomas Edison High School and graduated from the Success Via Apprenticeship Program, an NYC Department of Education and United Federation of Teachers venture. He also received his Bachelor of Education from the CUNY New York City College of Technology.
Kyle originally pursued a coding and web development career within the corporate world and worked with clients in many industries, including art, healthcare, hospitality, law, and tourism. However, he realized that his passion truly lay in technology education.
Kyle started teaching as a teacher candidate at 18 years old. He has now been in the computer science and web development education field for over five years and teaches comprehensive technology skills to high school students from grades 9-12.
He is passionate about teaching critical and fundamental technology skills to underrepresented students and motivating them to pursue careers in coding, web development, and other areas of technology. He excels in encouraging students to consider careers in technology in areas that seemed unreachable before. His mission is to be able to make a difference in his students’ lives, helping them build the skills they need to become talented web developers well after graduation.
Kyle is also a strong advocate for technology and website accessibility. As a full-stack designer and front-end web developer, Kyle develops websites with a focus on accessibility, ensuring that federal standards are met and that individuals with disabilities are able to access websites in a convenient and comfortable manner. He imparts the importance and knowledge of website accessibility and good web design to his students. He enjoys teaching members of underrepresented communities about technology and hopes to continue building relationships with underserved communities for the rest of his career.

Jeremy Schwartz Jeremy Schwartz
University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago, Illinois 

Jeremy Schwartz is currently serving as Chair of the Computer Science Department at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in Chicago, Illinois. He has been teaching middle school computer science and robotics classes since 2014. Jeremy helped launch an extra-curricular Middle School Robotics Club in 2015 and has been serving as head coach for 6 FLL robotics teams since 2016. He also worked to create an extra-curricular Middle School Computer Science Club in 2019 where students have been participating in the American Computer Science League Junior Division contests. 
Jeremy believes that, in middle school, the most important measure of a program’s success is...PARTICIPATION. Working to welcome, include, and inspire students of diverse backgrounds and identities is the primary goal of the middle school computer science programs at UCLS. His challenge as a teacher is to stimulate and support the development of academic intellect while providing a space for fun, age-appropriate social interactions. Jeremy believes middle school is the right place to attract and motivate students to join, participate, and continue towards high school with increasing interest and involvement in computer science and robotics studies. 
Prior to teaching in Chicago, Jeremy worked with middle school students in Spain and California. Jeremy also serves as the RoboMed robotics tournament director, sponsored by the Mediterranean Association of International Schools. Jeremy graduated with a B.S. from the University of California at Berkeley and subsequently earned an M.S.T. from the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Sonia Spindt 
Coliseum College Preparatory Academy, Albuquerque, New Mexico 

Sonia Spindt is a computer science teacher at Coliseum College Preparatory Academy, which is a Title 1, public high school in Oakland, California. She earned a degree in Biochemistry from UC Berkeley and spent much of her early career as a research scientist at UCSF. While in the lab, she predominantly used her computer science skills to analyze biological datasets. It was eye-opening for her to see the broad need for computing skills, and even more eye-opening to realize that few were learning about these technical skills outside of formal computer science degree programs. 
Motivated to broaden participation within computing, she joined Teach for America in 2015, where she began teaching AP Computer Science A. Fewer than 2% of secondary students in Oakland Unified were enrolled in CS coursework at the time, so a lot of her work has been focused on helping to develop robust and diverse CS pathways across Oakland Unified. She has been a co-facilitator of the Oakland Computer Science Teacher’s group for the last 4 years, where she helps other CS teachers imagine and develop pedagogies that improve engagement and mastery of computing content. She is currently an active member of the California Teacher Leaders in Equity program, and is looking forward to facilitating her first workshop at the CSTA 2021 conference. 
Sonia is constantly inspired by her students and is excited to continue empowering them to explore STEM fields and careers. She is looking forward to the fall because she will have the opportunity to teach courses in data science and machine learning for the first time in her career.  She loves to travel when she can and believes the best way to experience a new culture is through food! 

Barbara Teterycz 
Capital High School, Santa Fe, New Mexico 

Among several teaching endorsements, Barbara Teterycz is also certified inTechnology Education. As a certified Microsoft Office Specialist and Adobe Certified Associate, she started with teaching  Computer Applications and Web Design. A few years later, in collaboration with the local community college, she started offering  Web Design using HTML and CSS for dual credit. Next, in collaboration with the University of New Mexico, she added another dual-credit Intro to Computer Science course with NetLogo. But, the more professional guest speakers she listened to, the more interested in Python she became. And that is why she currently implements Amazon Future Engineers program with its Intro to  Computer Science as the starting course in their pathway, which is the prerequisite for their AP CSP course. In order to improve her programming knowledge and skills, she took and successfully passed the next industry certification exams (incl. Microsoft Technology  Associate and Python Institute Certified Programmer). In addition to all she did in order to bring CS to her Title 1 school, she also engages students in extracurricular activities, such as various challenges,  preparation for industry certification exams, mentorship, and even internship opportunities. As a result of her work, several of her high school graduates study CS at various universities now. One of them won 3rd place in the 2018 Congressional App Challenge and then led the team that became the finalist and the recipient of the Award for  Research from NM Technology in Education in the 2020 Supercomputing  Challenge. And most recently, her other team won 1st place in the 2020  Congressional App as well as in NM Governor’s STEM Challenges. And finally, her other team won the Cybersecurity Award in the 2021 Supercomputing Challenge. Also, every year her senior students,  who participate in the Supercomputing Challenge, earn scholarships to the universities of their choice. As the result of all these accomplishments, she is the lucky recipient of the NCWIT New  Mexico 2021 Educator Award for Aspirations in Computing as well as the 2021 Teacher Appreciation Award from the Supercomputing  Challenge.

Honorable Mentions 

Michele Cislo
Moses Y. Beach School & Rock Hill School, Wallingford, Connecticut 

Michele Cislo has been an elementary school teacher in Connecticut for the past 30 years. Six years ago she made the transition to an elementary CS teacher and currently works with over 600 preK - 5 students providing all students foundational skills and concepts in CS. She works diligently to spark interest and inspire students to want to learn more about CS by offering focus area groups such as Robotics, STEAM, Coding Club, and Game Design. Additionally, she also organized evening events such as “Technology Night” and “Girls Who Code” to further engage students and specifically target underrepresented students and their families.
As a reflective practitioner, Michele constantly evaluates her teaching practice and looks for new opportunities for professional growth. Becoming an ISTE Certified Educator was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of her career. Applying her new learning, she played an integral role in writing her district’s K-5 CS curriculum and is proud of the program that was developed. She is also a Code.org CS Fundamentals Facilitator, Seesaw Certified Educator and a Co-District Facilitator for Connecticut’s Teacher Education and Mentoring Program.

Diniah Dean 
De Las Salle Institute, Chicago, Illinois 

Diniah Dean serves as Technology Teacher at De La Salle Institute. She teaches in the Applied Sciences Division, teaching AP Computer Science, Web Design, iPad Innovation, Cybersecurity, Coding, and App Development. In addition to teaching she is also the moderator for Girls Who Code, and Women In Stem. She is extremely passionate about getting more girls involved in Computer Science. Diniah received the Advanced Placement Computer Science Female Diversity Award from the College Board in 2020. 
Diniah earned her BA from Robert Morris University in Computer Science. After graduating from college she landed an Internship in a high school that changed her life. There she discovered her true passion for teaching. Diniah is a very dedicated teacher with over 15 years of experience. When she is not glued to her computer screen, she spends her time traveling, researching places to travel, and planning her next adventure.  

Jennifer Manly 
Paint Branch High School and University of Maryland, Rockville, Maryland 

As a Computer Science Master Teacher with the Terrapin Teachers program, Jen Manly teaches at Paint Branch High School and the University of Maryland. Previously, Jen taught middle school CS and technology education.
Jen is an advocate for increasing access to CS. She led the expansion of Paint Branch’s CS program to a full CS pathway in two years, including FOCS, AP CSP, AP CSA and Programming I — over 350% growth. Formerly, her work led to a  300% growth of her middle school’s Project Lead the Way program. She has written CS curriculum at the district and national level, including serving on Code.org’s AP CS A curriculum writing team. She is passionate about differentiation, student choice, and student autonomy. 
Jen is a nationally recognized presenter (CSTA, ISTE, ITEEA), a leader in Agile Education, a 2019 ITEEA Teacher Excellence awardee, and formerly a Project Lead the Way Master Teacher.

Amy Wright Amy Wright 
The Hun School of Princeton, Princeton, New Jersey 

Amy Wright is the Chair of Computer Science and Engineering Technology at the Hun School in Princeton, NJ, where she also teaches AP Computer Science A and AP Computer Science Principles.  With a degree in Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Amy got her professional start working as a Systems Engineer for Lockheed Martin.  In her position with the Advanced Weapon System Design group, Amy learned several programming languages and quickly became a lead simulation designer.  
Amy’s passion for helping others led her to her true calling -- Computer Science education.  For over 20 years, Amy has developed effective programs for middle schools, high schools, and summer camps where students learn through discovery and collaboration while having fun.  Since joining the Hun School, the department has tripled in staffing due to increased enrollment in all Computer Science courses.  In addition, all ninth-grade students now take an Introduction to Computer Science.  Amy is humbled by the opportunity to inspire teachers as well as students in her role as department chair as a facilitator for Code.org.  
A recipient of NCWIT’s 2021 Educator Award Honorable Mention (NJ Affiliate), Amy seeks opportunities to engage students beyond the classroom as well.  She is the advisor for the school’s STEM Scholars program, Girls Who Code Club, Computer Science Club and has organized events such as the Middle School Hack-a-Thon Snack-a-Thon.  Students involved in these opportunities have earned national and regional recognition by organizations such as NCWIT, GirlsGo Cyberstart, and CyberStart America as well as various hackathons, scholarships, and competitions.

Heather Wright 
De Pere School District, De Pere, Wisconsin 

Heather Wright holds teaching certifications in Broad Field Social Studies, Psychology, and Computer Science and is the Digital Literacy Teacher at De Pere Middle School. She teaches an exploratory class where her passion for using technology as a way to solve problems and teach students about humanity is what combines her interests and engages the students, encourages them to further study computer science, and empowers diverse learners to see where they can contribute creatively to their future. 
Heather provides opportunities for students to express themselves and their creativity through coding. She has run Hour of Code events, activities for CS Ed Week, hosted after-school Coding Clubs, had students submit an app to the Congressional App Challenge and nominated a winner for NCWIT. Most impressively, she has led a team to win Best in State, Best in Region, and the Fan Favorite National Award in the Verizon App Challenge.