PHARR – A Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD elementary educator has been selected by the Space Foundation as one of 27 outstanding educators from across the world to join its Teacher Liaison Program in 2019. Celena Miller, a Science Lab Teacher at Cesar Chavez Elementary, a National Blue Ribbon Designated School, is one of three educators in Texas and the only one from the Rio Grande Valley selected for the highly competitive program.

Started by the Space Foundation in 2004, the Teacher Liaison program influences space and science education at an international level. Teacher Liaisons serve as advocates for space-themed education and use Space Foundation-provided training and resources to further integrate space principles into the classroom.

“I am truly honored and humbled to be selected as a Space Foundation Teacher Liaison and to be included with such auspicious company,” said the 5th grade Science Lab Teacher. “The specialized training and instruction at Space Foundation workshops and cutting-edge space education materials will benefit our elementary students on a district level.”

A new flight of Teacher Liaisons is selected every January. The program is open to the public, private and homeschool teachers, as well as school administrators, principals, specialists, curriculum and instruction developers and others who deliver education programs to students. New Teacher Liaisons are selected by a panel comprised of experienced Teacher Liaisons and representatives from the space industry and the military. The Space Foundation Teacher Liaison program is funded by Lockheed Martin.

According to Miller, she looks forward to the opportunity to continue learning as an educator and bring that knowledge back to her classroom.

“My goal is to grow as a teacher for my students,” shared Miller who has taught at Cesar Chavez Elementary for 9 years. “Through the 'First' opportunities program provided for Teacher Liaisons I also hope to have opportunities to take my class to activities like Audience With an Astronaut, various tours of space exhibits, and even gain access to student pilot programs.”

Due to her passion and dedication, Miller has earned prestigious recognition from the State Board of Education and praise from her peers. Among her many accolades include receiving the H-E-B Excellence in Education Award, the Texas Academy of Science Award and most recently the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) by President Barack Obama. PAEMST is the highest recognition a K-12 science or math teacher can receive in the U.S. Mrs. Miller was one of 213 mathematics and science teachers selected from across the country and one of only two from Texas to receive the award.

The new Teacher Liaisons will be publicly recognized at the Space Foundation's 35th Space Symposium, to be held April 8-11, 2019 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA. In addition to the recognition activities, Teacher Liaisons also participate in the Space Foundation's virtual distance delivery education programs.