During her 11 years in education Hannah Maharaj has served as a teacher, instructional coach, Title 1 facilitator, leadership team member, teacher mentor and reading specialist. During the 2012-2013 academic year her principal challenged her to be on a team that implemented STEM at Hightower Elementary School, being a student and teacher who was intrigued by science, math and project based learning she agreed. Within the year and under her guidance Hightower Elementary School became a Georgia Department of Education STEM Certified School and teachers embraced project based learning through a STEM lens.
The next academic year Hannah was promoted to the DeKalb County School District Central Office where she served as a Professional Learning Facilitator and Career Technical Agricultural Education Coordinator. When she assumed the role of the DeKalb County School District STEM Coordinator she knew she had reached her goal, that of one where she had a platform to promote STEM as a school innovation tool that aimed to increase student engagement and achievement across the school district. During her time as the STEM Coordinator she oversaw K-12 STEM programs in more than 70 schools. Under her leadership 8 schools received AdvancED STEM Certification and 4 schools received Georgia Department of Education STEM Certification. She worked to restore and create partnerships with industries such as Experience Aviation, The Flying Classroom, US Navy, Zoo Atlanta, High Museum of Art, Georgia Tech Research Institute, HATponics and Sphero. Through these partnerships more than 80,000 students across the DeKalb County School District received innovative and unique STEM+ experiences that have transformed the landscape of teaching and learning through restoring integrative, real-world and student relevant instruction.
In October of 2016 she began a new adventure with The Flying Classroom. In her current role as the Director of Curriculum and Professional Learning she has been granted an avenue to reach even more students with STEM+ education across the nation. She leads professional learning efforts, develops Flying Classroom implementation plans for school districts and coordinates teacher expeditions. Her primary focus has been rejuvenating the Flying Classroom curriculum to include engineering design challenges, three part lessons and developing a problem solving model. Although working with Lead Explorers (teachers) across the nation in various time zones can be daunting to some, Hannah remains committed to providing individual support to each Lead Explorer implementing the program. After all, sitting in the classroom of a Flying Classroom Lead Explorer is the next Marie Curie, Nikola Tesla or Barrington Irving.
Jason Raines is an expert at making science fun for children. He has been involved in the field of science education for the past 20 years as a middle school science teacher, education consultant, curriculum developer and successful business owner. Currently, he is the STEM Coordinator for Stone Mountain Middle School (Stone Mountain, GA). With the assistance of The Flying Classroom’s Captain Barrington Irving, Jason led his middle school to an AdvancEd STEM Program Certification (one of fifty certified schools worldwide). In addition, Jason was awarded the prestigious National Science Teacher Association (NSTA)/ Northrop Grumman Foundation Teacher Academy Fellowship (only 25 fellowships awarded nationwide).
Originally from Michigan, Jason has a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MA in Educational Studies from the University of Michigan. He believes that STEM education is a transformational force in today’s school. He has seen firsthand how exposing students to STEM opportunities can spark a lifelong interest in learning. Jason has extensive experience using innovative programs like The Flying Classroom to emphasize real-world skills, engage with community partners, and establish the relevance of STEM in the everyday lives of his students.
In 2008 Rajeev Brown joined the Experience Aviation program as an aviation student. Today he is the Program Manager who oversees this non-profit organization and its nationwide Build and Soar Academy, which works with Career Technical Education (CTE) divisions within school districts nationwide. The Build and Soar Academy is one of Captain Barrington Irving’s cutting edge and hands-on STEM+ solutions offered to students. Each project, conducted as part of the Build and Soar Academy, challenges students to utilize STEM+ competencies to build planes, cars and hovercrafts from scratch. The goal is to provide students with real world 21st century skills tailored to industry and CTE strands.
Rajeev’s role has been instrumental over the years in ensuring high quality, measurable outcomes and guidance so that each student participant obtains full exposure and industry access to the world of aviation and STEM. He works hand-in-hand with the organization hosting the build to ensure that students have academically rich experiences that promote their pathway into secondary STEM education and careers. To date Rajeev has grown the program not only in his hometown of Miami but across the nation. Under his guidance innovative STEM+ builds have also been conducted in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Detroit impacting over 1500+ students. Rajeev, along with his team, have been successful in designing specialty career and technical education programs exclusively for school districts based on their geographical location and surrounding industries. Through each implemented program he is able to build partnerships and incorporate industry professionals from the STEM field to work directly with student participants in order provide them real world exposure and 21st century skills.
Experience Aviation and the Flying Classroom are collaborative partners that work in tandem to challenge students to apply real-world skills to applicable solutions for identified STEM+ challenges across the globe.
Visit the Experience Aviation (experienceaviation.org)