Red River High School teacher receives Air Force award for leadership in STEM education
The honor recognizes classroom teachers for their accomplishments in stimulating students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
Paul Zettler, information technology teacher at Red River High School, has received the 2020 Air Force Association Chapter Teacher of the Year award.
The award recognizes classroom teachers at the chapter and state level for their accomplishments in stimulating students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and preparing students to use and contribute to tomorrow’s technologies.
Zettler has been instrumental in promoting and advancing cybersecurity in Grand Forks Public Schools and throughout North Dakota, Eric Ripley, executive director of career and technical education and technology for the Grand Forks school district, said in a news release.
“Paul has been instrumental in also expanding the participation within the Girls Go CyberStart competition within the district and across the state through his advocacy efforts," Ripley said.
Red River High School finished first in the state in the Girls Go CyberStart U.S. national high school cybersecurity competition in May.
Zettler has taught information technology at RRHS for 11 years. In the past five years, he has advised 123 girls in the Girls Go CyberStart competition. He initiated the offering of cybersecurity courses during the 2018-19 school year and founded the Grand Forks chapter of Girls Who Code and advised students in the CyberPatriot IX competition in the 2016-17 school year. He also advises the Skills-USA chapter at RRHS.
The technical training he received while serving in the U.S. Navy laid the groundwork for his career in teaching, he said.
Being recruited to a teaching position in information technology at RRHS was a life-changing event, according to Zettler.
“I am grateful to receive the award and see it as an opportunity to recognize the students that I have had the pleasure to serve. They are the cornerstone to our success," he said.