PINE RIDGE, S.D. - A Red Cloud Indian School high school educator has been named Distinguished Educator of the Year by the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. Wendell Gehman, who has worked at Red Cloud for more than 12 years, received the award in June.
;'We are tremendously proud of Wendell and grateful for his unwavering pursuit of instilling excellence in our students, particularly in a subject that is fulfilling an important need both in the state and worldwide,'' said the Rev. Peter Klink SJ, president of the school. ''Wendell is a wonderful example of someone who puts so much passion into everything that he does. Our students are better because of it.''
Gehman has been chair of the science department for the past 10 years. Also very involved out of the classroom, he has served as the head girls' golf coach for 11 years, and as a district chair in the North Central Association's endeavor to improve school initiatives in reading, writing and math. He has also worked with NASA, assisting in the installment of a ground-based magnetometer, a scientific instrument used to measure the strength and direction of the magnetic field in the vicinity of the instrument, which is located on the Red Cloud campus.
''It's important to give our students a venue to gain more experience and opportunities in the area of scientific research,'' Gehman said. ''Through the SACNAS, our students have been able to partner with some of the nation's top scientists. This award is a reflection of the work of my students and peers.''
Gehman volunteers his time to teach ACT preparation courses to high school students, which has resulted in an improvement of the institution's average composite score over the past four years.
For 35 years, SACNAS has provided strong national leadership in improving and expanding opportunities for minorities in the scientific work force and academia; mentoring college students within science, mathematics and engineering; as well as supporting quality precollege (K - 12) science education.
Its annual national conference and precollege teacher training workshops, chapters program, postdoctoral and leadership initiatives, and online internship and job placement resources are tools that help a diverse community of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, professors, administrators and precollege educators achieve expertise within their disciplines.