Florida’s Innovative Middle School Teacher
Barbara Walters-Phillips is an aviation education teacher in Orlando, Florida who has been featured on various national media interviews as the recipient of numerous awards for innovative teaching methods which incorporate aviation principles that support nontraditional careers for girls. Her infectious enthusiasm and ability to inspire middle school classes has stimulated student interest in mathematics, science and engineering. General Ronald R. Fogelman, former United States Air Force Chief of Staff has stated, . . . Barbara Walters-Phillips has dedicated herself to teaching the love of learning. She has provided her students with the information and practical tools they need, while giving them the capacity for understanding that can help to give fuller meaning to their lives. She has prepared her students for the great responsibilities and opportunities of the future by nurturing their hearts along with their minds. . .
After receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education, Barbara went on to earn her Masters Degree in Education. As a new pilot in 1990, she became an active member of the Aviation Education Association and a member of the Challenger Learning Center International.
In 1989 Barbara was sponsored by NASA and National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to participate in the NASA Education Work Shop for mathematics and science teachers at NASA Langley Research Center. The next year she introduced her Aviation Invasion program.
Aviation Invasion was designed to provide children with actual aircraft experience and hands-on opportunities at the Orlando Executive Airport with the tarmac and the hangar as a classroom. The group met with air traffic controllers, mechanics, pilots, banner tows, as well as visiting the avionics shop. The glider competition required mathematics to determine obstacle courses, scoring and tabulating, navigation and flight-plan for a mini cross country trip. The mental process of computing distance, headings, altitude, forces of flight, aerodynamics, rocketry and kite flying involves the participants in the practical connection between mathematics and science with careers in aviation and aerospace.
Barbara Walters-Phillips is the 1995 recipient of the Aerospace Education Foundation, of the Air Force Association’, Christa McAuliffe Memorial Award as the premier aerospace educator in America that year.