Two Paulding teachers inducted into university’s STEM mentoring program

By Mary Hood Two Paulding County teachers have been selected to be…

Georgia (Mar 8, 2012)


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By Mary Hood

Two Paulding County teachers have been selected to be part of a five-year program at Kennesaw State University to become better educators, mentor educators and improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning in the county and metro area.
North Paulding High School physics teacher Jason Goodman and South Paulding High School chemistry teacher Lyric Portwood were nominated and selected to become students learning to improve teaching.
Nine STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals were inducted into the Initiative to Inspire and Mentor Physics and Chemistry Teachers Noyce II Program, is a grant-funded program through the National Science Foundation which is being administered through Kennesaw State University, according to Nancy Overley, project manager for the I-IMPACT Noyce II program.
The program has selected six teachers in metro Atlanta to be master teaching fellows. Those selected were required to have a master’s degree and to be teaching in the field of chemistry or physics, for which both Goodman and Portwood were selected.
The remaining three students work in a STEM field and are not educators, but will work through the program to receive their Master of Arts degree in teaching science in either chemistry or physics as teaching fellows, Overley said.
The master teaching fellows will work together as a coalition to further develop their teaching skills, while also mentoring the three teaching fellows and other current teachers in chemistry and physics not involved in the program.
“Basically what our goal is, is to be able to define what quality teaching is in a chemistry and physics teaching classroom and to develop a community of professionals where other teachers can reach out to for ideas,” Portwood said.
And to her, quality teaching lies in STEM basics, which is a more hands-on approach to learning.
“To me, quality teaching is about being a facilitator — giving [students] the opportunity to discover and interact and explore on their own so they can draw conclusions,” Portwood said.
Goodman said he sees it as a great opportunity to bring together teachers in the very limited education fields of chemistry and physics.
“You don’t have a lot of them in one school,” he said. “It’s hard to meet and have professional development and community with each other.
“Sometimes we end up on islands and we don’t know what anybody else is doing.”
Both Goodman and Portwood said teaching these fields in school is elemental to understanding the vital technology that supports everyday life.
“We’re now in a time where technology is increasing exponentially, and we’re preparing students for jobs that don’t even exist right now,” Portwood said.
Goodman said students need to understand how technology works, so the system can support itself, otherwise the technology can’t continue to grow without skilled workers in the field.
Both said they are honored to be part of the program.

A Closer Look
- Jason Goodman is a physics teacher at North Paulding High School. He received his undergraduate degree from Kennesaw State University, and his master’s degree from Jacksonville State University. He has been teaching for 10 years, and has spent time teaching at Paulding County, South Paulding and East Paulding high schools.
- Lyric Portwood is a chemistry teacher at South Paulding High School. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Kennesaw State University. She has worked at South Paulding High School since 2007.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit