As a former elementary school teacher, I know how privileged we are to have Georgia Aquarium as an educational resource, and am thrilled to share it with students and teachers in our community.

From the time I started teaching, I was less interested in being a specific type of teacher and more interested in showing students their worth and value. I believe that the true purpose of a teacher is to prepare children to be good citizens of the world—to be satisfied, well-rounded human beings, which is not entirely about knowledge. A great measure of success is your ability to think critically and be intentional with your life.

My passion is ensuring that every student, regardless of their circumstance, has access to a quality education and community resources necessary to pursue a successful life. As part of that initiative, Georgia Aquarium is proud to offer Sponsored Education Admissions (SEA), which helps provide free adimssion to groups and individuals in need of financial assistance. SEA helps students come face to face with aquatic animals from around the world while learning where they live, how we care for them, and so much more! Since the program began in 2007, we have welcomed over 315,000 students under the SEA program. Last year alone, we welcomed 52,984 students from 69 different counties in Georgia!

I understand how critical it is that students get outside of their classroom to see how what they are learning is used on a daily basis in non-traditional institutions like Georgia Aquarium – and it can be gratifying! Giving students the opportunity to experience the animals up close at Georgia Aquarium helps them truly connect to the marine world, more so than just reading about it in a book. This year we started an innovative partnership with Centennial Academy, a local school, who came to school every day at Georgia Aquarium! We dedicated one of our classroom spaces to them and worked with their teachers to develop a curriculum centered around our resources and initiatives. 

The education team is committed to providing an amazing experience that connects students to the aquatic world and our one ocean, whatever that might look like for them. Our ultimate goal is to provide an authentic learning experience oriented around Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) that awakens the curiosities of our students. We recently partnered with Georgia-Pacific to create an exciting and educational new video series, called "STEAM Forward," that helps highlight the variety of STEAM careers that exist at both Georgia Aquarium and Georgia-Pacific. The video series also answers the fundamental question many students ask: :why am I learning this?" We hope to be able to answer that question.

We are committed to serving as an accessible resource to our community and equipping educators with knowledge, skills, and best practices to translate contemporary environmental concepts into meaningful learning moments. The team also fosters partnerships with stakeholders; including, teachers, parents, school districts, nonprofits and business leaders. To learn more about the Education Department at Georgia Aquarium, please visit www.georgiaaquarium.org/learn