Oak Mountain Middle School teacher Sherri Whitehead was named the VEX IQ Teacher of the Year at the 2016 VEX Worlds robotics competition held last week at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY.
Whitehead has taught the Project Lead the Way STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) course for the past two years and sponsors six robotics teams at OMMS.
VEX Worlds is a gathering of the top robotics teams from around the world to celebrate their accomplishments and compete against the best of the best. The 2016 VEX Worlds event included nearly 1,000 teams from over 400 VEX Robotics Competition qualifying tournaments which occurred in cities around the world from June 2015 to March 2016.
OMMS student Khaled Zuaiter introduced Whitehead as the winner of the prestigious award at the event.
“The Teacher of the Year award recognizes as an educator who is passionate about learning and shows true dedication and leadership to his or her students,” Zuaiter said. “Our teacher exemplifies these ideals and is a role model to our team.”
Zuaiter said it was under Whitehead’s leadership that Oak Mountain Middle School joined the VEX IQ Challenge Competition for the first time this year with six robotics teams.
“With her guidance and careful instructions, our teams have learned to think critically about the work we are doing and solve problems on our own,” Zuaiter said. “If we are struggling she is always there to encourage us and develop our own solutions.”
Zuaiter also praised Whitehead for her efforts to support their teams by securing materials and funding for the robotics program through fundraising efforts.
“Ms. Sherry Whitehead is an inspiration to each of us at Oak Mountain Middle School not only for the time and attention that she gives our team, but also for sharing her passion for robotics with the intermediate school, the high school, and even another nearby school,” Zuaiter said. “Her willingness to take time from her personal life to share her knowledge encourages each of us to use the skills we have to succeed in robotics and beyond.”
“In just our first year, each of our school’s six teams moved on to the Alabama VEX IQ Championships and there two of our teams qualified for VEX Worlds,” he continued in his introduction speech. “We are so pleased to be a part of Ms. Whitehead’s program and we know that without her we would not be here today competing. We are so grateful to Ms. Whitehead for sharing this experience with us. It is my great pleasure to present her with the 2016 Teacher of the Year Award.”
Video of the awards presentation can be found at the following link, with Whitehead’s award occurring at the 57:30 mark: