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May 7, 2018 - TI Innovations in STEM Teaching Awardees Named

Three Plano ISD teachers have received the TI Foundation Innovations in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Teaching Awards, and an additional three teachers were named award finalists. All six teachers were recognized at the May 7 school board meeting. The winners are Meerna Ayoubi, Jasper High School; Margareta Coveney, Rice Middle School; and Mary Ann Cowley, Otto Middle School. Finalists are Francisco Flores, Wilson Middle School; Doris Kottwitz, Plano East Senior High School; and Kelley Wonsmos, Plano West Senior High School.

TI STEM winners and finalist

Texas Instruments Foundation Executive Director, Andy Smith; Doris Kottwitz, Plano East Senior High School; Kelley Wonsmos, Plano West Senior High School; Margareta Coveney, Rice Middle School; Mary Ann Cowley, Otto Middle School; Meerna Ayoubi, Jasper High School; and Francisco Flores, Wilson Middle School.

The awards honor local secondary math and science teachers, nominated by their principals, who consistently demonstrate quality instruction and build student achievement in the STEM subjects. Each winning teacher received $10,000, of which $5,000 is directly awarded to the teacher for personal use. The other $5,000 is awarded to the recipient’s school to go toward classroom technology or professional development opportunities. The grants are awarded through the Plano ISD Education Foundation.

Collage of finalist and winners receiving trophies

Receiving their awards at the board meeting are (top row) finalists Doris Kottwitz, Plano East Senior High School; Francisco Flores, Wilson Middle School; and Kelley Wonsmos, Plano West Senior High School and (bottom row) winners Meerna Ayoubi, Jasper High School, Margareta Coveney, Rice Middle School; and Mary Ann Cowley, Otto Middle School.

The Texas Instruments Foundation has invested more than $1.8 million over the past 12 years across North Texas school districts with 27 teachers in Plano ISD winning TI Innovations in STEM teaching awards. “Our staff has been honored to work with the Texas Instruments Foundation and the Plano ISD Education Foundation to recognize outstanding Plano ISD teachers of secondary science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Academics Dr. Katrina Hasley.


Meerna Ayoubi, Jasper High School

The energy in Ms. Ayoubi’s classroom comes from the frequent transitions students make between face-to-face discussions, individual device use and whole class technology applications. Content is streamed and mirrored from the teacher’s and students’ devices and the software used in class serves to create personal learning experiences for each student. According to Ms. Ayoubi's principal, Matt Endsley, “The way Ms. Ayoubi seamlessly utilizes technology in her classroom is unlike anything I have ever witnessed. Her teaching is an art form that is unique and mesmerizing to watch. Her leadership and guidance with our staff as changed the culture at Jasper High School.”

Meerna Ayoubi, Jasper HS Honors Geometry class

Meerna Ayoubi, Jasper High School, teaching honors geometry.

Margareta Coveney, Rice Middle School 

In Ms. Coveney’s class, sixth graders move in and out of technology-based assignments seamlessly, showing us all that technology is not a classroom “event,” but an expected and manageable model of instruction. According to Ms. Coveney's principal, Chris Glasscock, “Ms. Coveney quickly became a favorite sub of the teachers at Frankford especially in the math department. She taught sixth grade honors and on-level math during her first year at Rice, and she showed she had the ability to bring math to life for her students. She is not only a teacher at Rice, she is a leader and positive role model for everyone.”

Ms. Coverney with students

Margareta Coveney, Rice Middle School math, teaching sixth grade honors math.

Mary Ann Cowley, Otto Middle School

True inquiry methods and problem solving are at the heart of Ms. Cowley’s classroom. Her students work together to address the problem at hand and access technology as needed. Students who move beyond teacher-directed technology use and identify for themselves when and how technology would support learning goals. According to Ms. Cowley’s principal, Antoine Spencer, “Ms. Cowley is an innovative math and science teacher who promotes critical thinking in a fun and supportive environment for her students. Students are uniquely drawn to her personality and sense of humor as she instinctively forges strong relationships. She is passionate about her endeavors and works selflessly to ensure the success of every student.”

 Mary Ann Cowley in classroom

Mary Ann Cowley, Otto Middle School, teaching eighth grade honors science.


Francisco Flores, Wilson Middle School

In Mr. Flores’s class, students engage in work that is highly marketable in today’s industry. The knowledge his students have of how to use image-editing software will continue to serve them – and serve our business partners – in the future. According to Mr. Flores' principal, Selenda Sager, “He is highly regarded by staff for his expertise, curiosity and desire for exploration when technology questions and needs arise. He values incorporation of technology into his lessons to captivate and engage students.”

Francisco Flores, Wilson MS

Francisco Flores, Wilson Middle School, teaching Exploring Arts AV and Communications.

Doris Kottwitz, Plano East Senior High School

Ms. Kottwitz’ uses think-aloud teaching techniques to her highly advanced Calculus BC students. Her instruction shows students that knowing the correct processes is not enough; making sense of the problem and their calculations is about reflective practices. According to Ms. Kottwitz' principal, George King, “Ms. Kottwitz may be the most beloved teacher at Plano East. She is revered and loved. She inspires students and colleagues. This administrator is “wow-ed” by her every day.”

Doris Kottwitz, Plano East BC Calculus classroom

Doris Kottwitz, Plano East Senior High School, teaching BC Calculus.

Kelley Wonsmos, Plano West Senior High School

Under the leadership of Ms. Wonsmos, students interact with each other in business simulations that are truly authentic; her students are both self-sufficient, collaborative and deeply engaged. According to Ms. Wonsmos' principal, Kathy King, “She is the teacher an administrator hopes to have on staff – intelligent, dependable, energetic, student-centered, innovative and committed to the success of her students.”

Kelley Wonsmos, Plano West, Business Info Management

Kelley Wonsmos, Plano West Senior High, teaching Business Information Management.