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Air Force Association names Ennis ‘Teacher of the Year’

Greg Ennis, center, from James Clemens High School accepts his "Teacher of the Year" award from retired colonels Jay Carlson, from left, and Rick Driesbach with the Tennessee Valley Chapter of the Air Force Association, superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler and James Clemens Principal Dr. Brian Clayton. (CONTRIBUTED)
Greg Ennis, center, from James Clemens High School accepts his “Teacher of the Year” award from retired colonels Jay Carlson, from left, and Rick Driesbach with the Tennessee Valley Chapter of the Air Force Association, superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler and James Clemens Principal Dr. Brian Clayton. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – The Tennessee Valley Chapter of the Air Force Association has named Greg Ennis its “Teacher of the Year” for work in STEM studies (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

In addition, the association selected Ennis as “Alabama Teacher of the Year.”

At James Clemens High School, he teaches engineering principles, research and design classes. Previously, he taught introduction to engineering design. Ennis sponsors the Engineering Club and both FIRST and MATE robotics teams.

James Clemens administrators nominated Ennis for promoting student achievement in aerospace and STEM. (afa.org/home)

Last fall, Ennis’ students won the InSPIRESS competition (Increased Recruitment of Emerging STEM Students). These students have promoted James Clemens engineering classes at local elementary and middle schools. The Engineering Club built a scissors lift for the drama department.

“A group of female students have helped me envision ways of making engineering classes more interesting to female students,” Ennis said.

“I’m most proud of my MATE robotics students, who recently won the Northern Gulf Regionals. They (built) an underwater robot completely by themselves,” Ennis said.

He also has taught at Walker and Cold Springs high school and Good Hope Middle School and was named Teacher of the Year. In 2010, he was selected as a Siemens/Discovery Education STEM Academy Fellow.

For Ennis, Jennifer Burks was a memorable teacher. “I came from industry and was ‘thrown’ into the classroom. She really helped me figure out what I was doing,” he said. “She has since passed away form cancer.”

He best remembers “special” students who worked harder. “One, considered far less than average, outscored (most) ‘regular’ classmates. It was dogged determination,” Ennis said.

“I also remember Clayton … who always smiled. He was polite and well mannered … something lots of regular students have a problem with,” he said.

Ennis earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Alabama and a master’s degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

His wife Vanessa works as Director of Energy Management and Plant Systems at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

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