For his leadership in establishing a high school that offers career training, certifications and early college credit, Pearland Independent School District Superintendent Dr. John Kelly received the STEM Education Leadership Award May 8.
STEM-Texas presented the award during the STEM Education Day event at George R. Brown Convention Center — held in conjunction with STEM Education Week May 4-9.
The STEM Awards recognize outstanding educators, individuals, groups, programs and more that have strengthened science, technology, engineering and math education while encouraging Texas youth to pursue STEM studies to prepare for the future.
According to a proclamation from Gov. Greg Abbott, within the next 10 years, employers in STEM fields will require an estimated 1 million more graduates with backgrounds in STEM than U.S. colleges and universities are on track to produce.
Since coming to Pearland ISD, Kelly has focused on ensuring that students graduate with the skills needed to succeed in college and/or the workforce.
The vision to create a school that would give students an express route to their future through relevant college and career training became a reality when Turner College and Career High School opened in fall 2013.
This school of choice specializes in hands-on exposure to careers ranging from medical and engineering to information technology and business.
STEM learning permeates the campus through real-world training environments such as a veterinary science facility, operational dentist office, TV studio and welding and heating/ventil-ating/air-conditioning labs.
In addition to 15 different career certification pathways, TCCHS students may pursue early college credit at approximately 90 percent savings and earn an associate degree before graduation.
In TCCHS’s first year, more than 700 students enrolled — 250 of those earning career certifications and seven graduating with associate degrees. This year, the number of seniors graduating with their associate’s is expected to be more than 30.
“Turner College and Career High School is a success because of the innovative vision for STEM that Dr. Kelly led here in the Gulf Coast region. His willingness to take a risk for students and local employers makes all of Pearland proud,” Dr. Jennifer Morrow, principal, said.