Michelle Cannon

Category : Awards

CREST Computer Science Teacher Receives 2019 CSTA/Infosys Foundation USA Awards for Teaching Excellence

Wednesday , August 14 , 2019

Michelle Cannon, a Computer Science teacher in the Center for Research, Engineering, Science, and Technology program at Paradise Valley High School, received the 2019 Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA)/Infosys Foundation USA Awards for Teaching Excellence from the CSTA and Infosys Foundation USA.

At the CSTA 2019 Annual Conference, it was announced that Ms. Cannon was the winner and received a $5,000 stipend in recognition of her outstanding work. The ceremony was held at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 9th. The following week, she had the opportunity to speak on a panel at the Indiana University during the Pathfinders Summer Institute about bringing Computer Science into the classroom.

“I was both humbled and shocked to receive this award. I have only been teaching computer science for four years and do not consider myself an expert in the field yet I can guide and inspire students to achieve excellence. I have grown professionally and mastered the art of student-led instruction and been able to see the power of computational thinking over the last several years and am proud to be recognized in doing so. On a more personal level, the reason I teach is to inspire students to be problem solvers and lifelong learners. This award recognizes these efforts and assures me that I am helping build the computer science community,” said Ms. Cannon.

As a Computer Science teacher, her students are involved in the Career and Technical students Organization (CTSO), SkillsUSA and have created a computer science council that dedicates itself to broaden participation in computer science and reaches a diverse group of students, including minorities, women, and students with disabilities. The council, which is led by a female student, has had several guest speakers come to Paradise Valley High School speaking about various careers in computer science and Cyber Security. The Computer Science Council is dedicated to making posters, announcements, and has after school speakers and activities to reach this broad population. As a result, enrollment has increased by approximately 10 percent a year in computer science classes, and the demographics are reflective of the student body.

All of Ms. Cannon’s classes also host open houses for middle school students so that high school students can showcase their projects and knowledge in simple computer science activities using Finch Robots and Raspberry Pi. This event has resulted in several of the middle schools offering computer science as an elective and builds excitement for the program in high school. 

“As a CREST teacher, I hold high expectations and push students to always perform beyond what they think they can achieve. In my classroom, I want all students to get to the point where they ‘fail’ because it is then that they can experience success on their Journey of Excellence. A student recently told me that the best feeling is when you accomplish something that you did not think was possible, and it was then that I knew my classes were headed in the right direction. It is through my teaching style and a safe environment that I can allow students to progress through their educational journey towards excellence,” said Ms. Cannon.

Learn more about the CREST program. Learn more about Paradise Valley High School.