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Heinse wins ‘Right Stuff’ award

Assisted by an U.S. Space & Rocket Center employee, Carol Heinse shows her determination on the multi-axis trainer during the Space Academy for Educators. (CONTRIBUTED)
Assisted by an U.S. Space & Rocket Center employee, Carol Heinse shows her determination on the multi-axis trainer during the Space Academy for Educators. (CONTRIBUTED)

HARVEST – Carol Heinse proved she can lead under duress by winning the “Right Stuff” award at the Space Academy for Educators.

Heinse’s award recognizes the camper who best exemplifies high qualities as both an academy participant and master teacher. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center sponsors the academy.

Heinse teaches fourth-graders at Endeavor Elementary School.

Heinse qualified for STEMCON, or the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Conference on July 9-12. Teachers from Alabama, Tennessee, Iowa, Arkansas and Minnesota were eligible for the event at Marshall Space Flight Center.

“To qualify, we had to submit a grant application and a STEM-related unit that we created and taught in our classroom,” Heinse said. Her bridge-building unit allowed “students to think and work like engineers while learning about the three basic types of bridges.”

The conference strongly emphasized engineering concepts for the classroom and problem-solving tactics for engineers. “We formed close relationships with the teachers attending and garnered many resources to help us implement these lessons,” Heinse said.

The campers operated simulators to safely ‘return’ a crew from the International Space Station via Space Shuttle. “I served as Mission Commander on ISS and completed experiments in ‘space,'” Heinse said.

Numerous students have nominated Heinse to “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.” Her peers selected Heinse as “Teacher of the Year” in 1994 and 1998. Several grants helped Heinse “to increase my knowledge in all areas as a teacher and serve as a technology mentor to teachers and students.”

Graduating from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Heinse achieved a perfect average and was valedictorian. She earned a master’s degree in elementary education/emerging classroom technologies at the University of Alabama. An educator for 27 years, Heinse has taught in Tuscaloosa, Homewood and Madison County.

She and husband Tim Heinse have been married 14 years. He retired from the U.S. Air Force and works as a semi-retired geographer. Their 13-year-old-daughter Cassandra attends Monrovia Middle School and plays clarinet in the eighth-grade band.

The Heinse family lives in Madison County.

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