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Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year
Posted On:
Thursday, May 02, 2019
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Lake Hamilton Junior High and High School computer science teacher, Karma Turner, was named the Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year today at the Capitol by Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Education. Karma was one of five state finalists who were recognized today at the Capitol.

Turner was selected through a rigorous review process. The #CSforAR / #ARKidsCanCode specialist team reviewed all applications and selected the five state finalists, which were recognized today. Education and computer science representatives then reviewed the finalists’ applications and selected Turner as the winner.

Each review group considered the overall quality of each application; the applicants’ vision for and understanding of the value of computer science education; their understanding of how their implementation of computer science education exemplifies quality teaching; and the current and long-term impact on computer science education locally, statewide, and nationally.

During the press conference, each finalist received $2,500 and a recognition plaque, with Turner receiving an additional $12,500 and a 2019 Computer Science Educator of the Year trophy. The awards were provided through funding from the ADE Office of Computer Science, a special project unit formed to implement Hutchinson’s Computer Science Initiative.

“The creativity and enthusiasm of these five stellar teachers is evident in classrooms around the state. These teachers, and so many like them, are the reason we are on the national map as a leader in computer-science education,” Governor Hutchinson said. “It is a pleasure to recognize these finalists and honor Ms. Karma Turner as our state’s first Computer Science Educator of the Year. These educators are preparing our students for a good career, and in the process, they are ensuring Arkansas will have a solid workforce that will keep our economy strong."

"Since the launch of the Computer Science Initiative, we have made tremendous progress in building a nationally-recognized program that serves as a model for all states," Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key said. "We could not have achieved this success without the guidance and hard work from outstanding teachers who are devoted to their students each and every day. The five finalists not only serve as leaders at their schools and across the state, they also serve as models of excellence around the country. I commend each of them for their commitment to education, and I congratulate Ms. Turner for receiving this high honor. Through their commitment to education, we are leading the nation in student-focused education."

“I have had the privilege of working with Karma Turner for many years and have always had the highest respect for her as a person and dedicated educator. This is a very well deserved honor for Karma and I know she will be a wonderful representative for Arkansas computer science as a whole.” Steve Anderson, LHSD Superintendent

“I have known Mrs. Turner for many years and believe her to be one of the very best teachers with whom I have had the pleasure of being associated. Mrs. Turner’s contribution to computer science at Lake Hamilton is immeasurable. She took an abandoned program three years ago and grew enrollment from approximately 100 per quarter to over 325 this year. Due to Karma’s leadership in developing and transforming our program, we have added two more teachers with full course and student loads in grades 6-8 including robotics and computer science in addition to the required coding classes.” Shawn Higginbotham, LHSD Associate Superintendent

“What separates Karma from other teachers who have been successful for many years is her drive to become even more effective. She is constantly looking for ways to move her teaching to higher levels. She has been a leader in our building in trying new and innovative teaching techniques and tailoring them to fit her classroom. As her principal, I figured out, fairly early on, that the best thing I could do for her was to get out of her way. She is truly a self-starter. Karma has poured herself into developing the computer science program and has turned it into something better than anything I could have imagined. Her class is not a place where students sit quietly pecking away at keyboards, but rather a place where kids innovate, think, and explore.” J.J. Humphries, LH Junior High Principal

“I am excited that Karma is receiving this much deserved recognition. She is a phenomenal teacher in the truest sense. She forges high performance relationships with her students and then connects them to an exciting and rigorous curriculum.” Donald Westerman, LH High School Principal

Arkansas is recognized nationally and internationally as leading the computer science education movement through Hutchinson’s #CSforAR / #ARKidsCanCode initiative. To learn more, visit…/arkansas-computer-science-initi….