The June Scobee Rodgers Innovative Educator Award, named in honor of Challenger Center Founding Chair June Scobee Rodgers, recognizes an outstanding educator who understands the importance of STEM education and demonstrates enthusiasm and passion in teaching STEM subjects. These educators are committed to inspiring students to dream big and reach for the stars. Each Challenger Learning Center has the opportunity to submit one nominee for the award. The award winner receives $2,500 to further enhance his/her classroom lessons and/or support professional development opportunities.

2019 Recipient

  • Christine Irby, Special Education teacher at Westwood Prek-6. Nominated by the Challenger Learning Center of Dayton. Learn about Ms. Irby here.

2018 Recipient

  • Nancy Rosenbaum, a fifth-grade science teacher at Florida State University. Nominated by the Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee. Learn about Ms. Rosenbaum here.

2017 Recipient

  • Jacqueline Caudill, middle school reading teacher at Viper Elementary. Nominated by the Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky. Learn about Ms. Caudill here.
  • Runner-up: Cris Petro, a fourth-grade teacher at Bailly Elementary. Nominated by the Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana. Learn about Ms. Petro here.

About June Scobee Rodgers

June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger Space Shuttle Commander Richard “Dick” Scobee, has dedicated her time and energy to continue the crew’s educational mission through Challenger Center. As an educator, June has appeared on numerous television programs promoting innovative educational partnerships and has served on the President’s National Advisory Council on Education. She is personally proud of the fact that she taught in every grade‐level classroom from kindergarten through college. Most recently, June received the distinguished Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award. Along with a successful teaching career, June is the author of Silver Linings: My Life Before and After  Challenger 7, in which she returns to the very public tragedy of the Challenger explosion. In addition to  Silver Linings, June created the Star Challenger science adventure books for young readers to further spark students’ interest in science and math. June speaks to large and small groups around the country,  challenging thousands of people through her motivational and contagious personality. June Scobee Rodgers holds a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, a Master’s from Chapman College, CA,  and a Bachelor’s from Charleston Southern University, S.C. She attended San Antonio Community College, TX, where she later received an Honorary Associate’s Degree. June is also the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the University of Leicester, England.