FACTS Teacher Innovation Awards - Past Winners

Past Innovation Award Winners

The FACTS Teacher Innovation Awards was created to recognize exceptional educators creating lasting educational impact through grassroots innovation in their schools. We wanted to shine a light on the creative teachers making a difference through bold initiatives, commitment to their students, and support of FACTS’ mission to make educational dreams possible through service and technology.

Past winners are:

Carina Brossy

Arborbrook Christian Academy (NC)

Winning Submission: Nature Studies: A Timeless Approach to Life-Giving Education

Over her 20-year career in education, Carina has helped students understand the lenses through which they see the world, leading international exchange trips and teaching middle school French and Spanish. Guided by her love of international travel and the outdoors, she studied ecology, organic gardening, and gastronomy and brought these skills to her current role teaching K-8 Nature Studies. Carina teaches students organic gardening, wilderness skills, and appreciation for nature – as well as hands-on cooking skills with a global perspective.

Nick Johnson

Worthington Christian Academy (OH)

Winning Submission: Warrior Cafe: Going Beyond the Classroom

A non-traditional teacher, Nick found his passion for education after a shoulder injury put an end to his professional baseball career. Using his real-world experience in retail, insurance, and the medical device industries, Nick has taught courses including Sports Marketing & Management, Accounting, Personal Finance, and more, all focused on helping students develop professional skills they can use in their future careers. As part of his Small Business Management course, Nick guides students in managing Warrior Café, a student-driven coffee shop, setting sales goals, handling marketing, and seeing what it takes to run a real-life business.

Matthew Jones

Corpus Christi Catholic (FL)

Winning Submission: Uke Can Play

While Matthew has always had a passion for music and still plays the occasional gig, he feels like teaching is his true calling. As a music teacher with the Diocese of St. Petersburg, he inspires a love of music in his students with lessons grounded in practical application, where students learn internal rhythm, chord theory, and ensemble playing. Many of his students have gone on to accomplish remarkable things with the guitar and ukulele skills learned in Matthew’s classes.

Nina Rozes

Roycemore School (IL)

Winning Submission: Crafting a Digital History: 3D Printing Ancient Artifacts from Imagined Civilizations and Curating a Virtual Reality Museum

As a PK-12 educator and teaching coach, Nina has helped schools throughout Chicago and Indianapolis infuse technology and project-based learning into their curriculums. In addition to teaching courses like Visual Arts, Design Thinking, and Graphic Design over the course of her career, Nina has empowered both teachers and students to employ real-world applications of theory and think critically. Her award-winning submission project involved 3D printing and creating a virtual reality museum of ancient artifacts.

Peter Tlusty

St. Mary Catholic School (VA)

Winning Submission: Cubes in Space with Martian Greenhouse 3.0

A childhood love of space led Peter to his current role teaching technology and engineering design to PK-8 students. As a Civil Air Patrol educator, American Rocketry Challenge mentor, and NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, Peter brings hands-on STEM applications into his lessons, helping students to design, build, and test rockets, rovers, satellites, and more. In addition to teaching students about all things aeronautics, Peter’s students were even able to send their experiment into space through the Cubes in Space program – establishing a love of the cosmos in a whole new generation.

Congratulations to our Runners-Up!

  • Doug Donaldson, Trinity Episcopal School (TX) – Broad Skills for Bold Lives
  • Sarah Brock, St. Joseph Catholic School (MS) – Student Choice in the High School English Classroom
  • Chris Young, The Oakwood School (NC) – Evolving the classroom using a student-led hands-on approach
  • Amy Szumstein, Atlanta Academy (GA) – Greenovation through Innovation at Atlanta Academy
  • Brett McIntyre, Northlake Christian (LA) – Advanced Placement Adventures
  • Paul Lincicome, Catholic High School for Boys (AR) – Preparing students for Tech & Learning in the 21st Century
  • Diana Techentien, Christ the King Catholic School (FL) – Engineering Class Innovations

Thank you so much to everyone that submitted a nomination. We were overwhelmed by both the number and caliber of submissions received, confirming what we already know here at FACTS – that we work with some of the best teachers in the world.

Stay tuned for more information on our website and social channels about our winners’ innovative ideas. We look forward to hosting these awards annually and continuing to be inspired by the creativity of educators. Happy innovating!

Key Dates

  • Tuesday, October 18 Awards nomination period opens.
  • Monday, December 5, 12pm CST – Submission deadline
  • Tuesday, December 6 – Friday, December 16 Committee evaluation
  • Friday, December 16 – Winners informed
  • Friday, January 20, 2023 – Winners announced on FACTS website
  • February 2023 Visit and check presentation to Winners’ Schools, featured posts on FACTS social media
  • July 25-28, 2023Winners attend Elevate (costs covered by FACTS) to present innovation idea as featured presentation.

Winning Benefits

  • Five teachers will be selected via submission process and evaluation by FACTS Executive Team.
  • Winners will receive a $5,000 check from FACTS.
  • Winners’ schools will receive a $1,000 check from FACTS.
  • Winners will be profiled through a 5 minute video on-site at their school with checks presented by a FACTS representative.
  • Winners will be profiled on the FACTS website and newsletter.
  • Winners will be invited to present their concepts at Elevate in July 2023 – free of charge (Registration, travel to Orlando, and hotel for 3 nights).

Nomination Guidelines

  • Teachers must submit their own nomination, but principals can forward the submission form to their teachers.
  • Innovation nomination must include the following:
    • Teacher’s name, title, school, short biography, and at least one social media handle.
    • Description of Innovation Project/Submission (500 word limit)
    • Essay: What does Innovation mean to you? (500 word limit)
    • Multimedia Component #1 – VIDEO.  Short video explaining and demonstrating innovation nomination. Video cannot exceed five minutes, and must be submitted via a URL such as Youtube, Vimeo, etc.
    • Multimedia Component #2 – PHOTOS. Photo gallery explaining and demonstrating innovation nomination. Gallery may include no more than 20 photos with descriptions. Must be submitted via a URL, such as Google Docs or Slides, Dropbox link, etc.

Please note that innovation means different things to different people. The specifications are wide open for YOU to determine what innovation means to you and how it is played out in your classroom. Be creative!

Teacher teaching electronics to students

Have additional questions about your submission?

Email us at [email protected].

OR, Join the Innovation Awards Community in FACTS^SPACE to bounce ideas off your fellow teachers.

Submit Nomination

Submit your Teacher Innovation Award Nomination here!