Loganville High School physics teacher Brian Hobbs was named Walton County Public School’s 2019 STEM Teacher of the Year. Last year, the scholarship and award went to Walnut Grove engineering teacher Richard Hartman and both Hobbs and Gino Elia of Monroe Area High School each received a $500 runner up award and scholarship. This year, Hobbs takes the $2,000 scholarship and award himself.
In announcing the winner, WCPS wrote on it’s Facebook Page that Hobbs “challenges his student to think about science through problem solving and experiments. His students participate in the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest in which they must build an energy transfer, chain reaction machine. In addition, he sponsors an Xtreme Science Club. This past school year, 41 club members earned Scuba Diving Certifications and more than 200 students have earned SCUBA certifications under Mr. Hobbs’ direction over the last decade.”
The STEM Teacher of the Year Award was introduced in 2017 thanks to the generosity of Dr. Elmer Swartzmeyer, a veteran and supporter of Walton County’s STEM programs. Swartzmeyer built missiles for Bell Aircraft in the 50s and went on to earn a PhD from Georgia State University. In 2017, he became involved in local STEM growth, introducing the STEM Teacher of the Year and Scholarship. This year, he added a STEM Student of the Year award and scholarship. The 2019 STEM Student of the Year award went to Kevin Pietruszka, also of Loganville High School. The award includes a $1000.00 scholarship to the school of his choice.