A Monett High School Class of 1972 graduate, Deborah Flattem Wilson, daughter of the late Donna and Robert Flattem, has been named the executive director of the Science Teachers of Missouri (STOM).
Wilson, who was a teacher for 32 years, 24 with the Springfield School District, is now working for teachers in kindergarten through college level courses to promote professional interests of the Missouri science education community.
"The organization speaks for teachers on matters related to science education," Wilson said. "Our members have assisted with national grant proposals, workshop presentations and revisions of key skills."
STOM also promotes science education throughout the state on many levels, focusing on science technology, engineering and math.
"Based on job collection data, employment opportunities relating to the fields science technology, engineering and math will be a growing trend within the next five to seven years," Wilson said. "The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce estimates there will be 250,000 jobs in those fields and there are not enough people in the workforce to fill them."
Current studies indicate that 43 percent of the students entering into science, engineering or math fields do not graduate with a degree in those areas of study.
"We need available manpower from other areas to fill high level career positions or those job opportunities will go elsewhere," Wilson said. "Science technology, engineering and math jobs bring creative thinkers and entrepreneurs to our area. These jobs bring higher salaried positions to the community and that positively impacts our tax base."
Wilson said area schools can assist students by encouraging a hands-on approach in teaching these areas, which would include both early childhood and after-school or summer educational programs.
Additionally, Wilson puts out an E-Science newsletter for all teachers throughout Missouri.
For more information on STOM, visit www.stom.org.