The Barstow School’s innovative STEAM program and its upper and middle school director received recognition at the International Technology & Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) conference held in Kansas City March 27-30.
Gavin Wood was honored with the Teacher Excellence Award—one of the highest honors given to technology and engineering education classroom teachers for outstanding contributions to the profession and their students. Sponsored by ITEEA and publisher Goodheart-Willcox, the award identifies outstanding technology and engineering teachers who serve as models for their colleagues and form a leadership core to affect change in the field.
"It is rare to have the opportunity to work with a person of Gavin’s passion and expertise, to say nothing of his ability to connect and inspire students in grades six to twelve," Director of Middle & Upper School Liz Bartow said in recommending Wood for the award. "He is a huge asset to our school."
Wood was also surprised with the Lawrence W. Prakken Professional Cooperation Award for exceptional work in promoting the field of technology and engineering education in cooperation with other fields or disciplines. The President of ITEEA said that Wood had changed the lives of hundreds of children with disabilities through his four years of working with GoBabyGo, becoming a global leader in the process. She quoted a parent who explained that Wood has empowered and inspired his students during his 16 years as a STEAM teacher. Wood believes students can learn to use technology and engineering, combined with empathy, to improve the world around them.
Wood leads Barstow’s project-based STEAM program that encourages innovation and design thinking so students can turn their creative ideas into reality. He teaches CAD for Product Design, Invention Labs, and Engineering Design & Robotics. He also serves as head coach of Barstow's championship robotics team and has developed a partnership with Variety KC and Go Baby Go to provide modified ride-on cars to dozens of children with mobility challenges—a program recognized as a global leader in the Go Baby Go movement.