Teachers who make dreams take flight

Last week we highlighted some of the miracle workers who are bringing our simulator to light, but there’s also a cohort of dedicated teachers working tirelessly behind the scenes to ignite imaginations and let dreams take flight.  Today we’ll throw the spotlight on some of these unsung heros.

Happy on the inside, for sure.

Victor Williamson

First and foremost is Victor Williamson, the creator of the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center, the inspiration behind Dream Flight Adventures and our ongoing partner.  Twenty two years ago Victor, then just a fledgling teacher out of school, had a crazy but brilliant idea.  Through several sleepless years he launched a new, rich, and immersive educational experience unlike anything else on the planet.  Over the past two decades more than 310,000 students have felt the impact of Victor’s work on their lives.  I felt the magic the first time when I was in fifth grade, and now it’s my honor and delight to bring the magic to another generation of budding young minds.

Michael Penn

There are two important things to know about Mike Penn.  First, there are absolutely no photos of him online and I’m going to have to snap a few of him after Thanksgiving.  Second, he’s an incredible and well-loved teacher who “gets you to think and you don’t even realize it!”  He currently teaches the gifted and talented education (GATE) program at the Shaler Area Elementary School, where our inaugural simulator is being constructed.  His enthusiasm is contagious, and he’s brimming with well-thought ideas about how to make things—whether big or small—better for all involved.  Working with him is an extreme pleasure, and we’re incredibly lucky to have him onboard.

Joe Malloy and Al Dietrich

Like Mike Penn, Joe Malloy and Al Dietrich are men of mystery who have somehow managed to stay free from the infinite grasp of the internet, and as a result I have no photos of them.  I’ll do my best to describe them.  They both have two eyes, two ears, and a mouth right below their nose.  Their bodies are primarily composed of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus.  They are also brilliant and dedicated instructors who are helping pilot the Dream Flight Experience at the Shaler Area Elementary School.  Joe also heads up the school’s robotics club.  We’re stoked to be working with them, and hopefully next time I’ll have more photographic evidence to prove it.

Stay tuned for our next exciting episode where we highlight two of the forward-thinking administrators who have opened the doors for this magnificent experience in the Shaler Area Schools.  Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving!

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