Dr. Cindy Hopkins, TAME Corpus Christi Chapter Leader and science educator, was recently named Teacher of the Year for the Corpus Christi ISD.
Dr. Hopkins was first named the Kaffie Middle School Teacher of the Year after being nominated by her peers and succeeding through an application process. Recently, Dr. Hopkins found out that she had won the next level with the district-wide Teacher of the Year award.
And it’s not over yet! Dr. Hopkins will continue to be considered by Education Service Center, Region 2 for Regional Teacher of the Year, along with the winners from other area districts.
Dr. Hopkins has been teaching seventh grade at Kaffie Middle School for 16 years. She is also an adjunct professor in the
College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
Dr. Hopkins discovered TAME following a visit from the Trailblazer traveling STEM museum and then started a TAME Club at Kaffie.
“I always want to get my kids involved in hands-on activities where they are in the driver’s seat, where they are learning more about engineering or science or tech and TAME is a great vehicle for that,” says Dr. Hopkins. “TAME gives my students tools and opportunities to learn more about the engineering profession, the variety of roles and projects that engineers support– and they are loved and supported the whole time.”
Over the years, TAME Competitions have been a particular highlight for Dr. Hopkins and her students. She recalls the first TAME Competition she attended. “My students had lunch with an astronaut, they talked about engineering with like-minded students who are passionate about the world around them, and it was an absolutely amazing day.”
Fast forward years later to the 2023 TAME Competition, and Dr. Hopkins remains as enthusiastic as ever about the program and its impact on students. “To watch the kids quickly introduce themselves to each other, start working, and be able to trust each other it’s amazing.”
As TAME sharpens the focus on engineering education and the real-world impact of engineers, we are providing TAME Clubs and Chapter Leaders like Dr. Hopkins with new tools for a hands-on learning experience.
This school year, TAME provided a shared optional curriculum to Clubs focused on water purification. The 2023 TAME Competitions built on that foundation of water-focused Club learning with a water-transport challenge that required students not only to design and build the best solution but budget the project and develop a persuasive marketing pitch.
“Dr. Hopkins does an amazing job of taking the tools and opportunities that the TAME program provides to inspire and engage her students,” says Andrea Herrera Moreno, Executive Director of TAME. “She is effectively supporting and sustaining her students’ curiosity in STEM education and careers and is incredibly deserving of this honor.”
Dr. Hopkins has embraced TAME’s water purification curriculum and her students love the real-world focus. She pulled in a colleague who once worked for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) who has helped enhance TAME Club learning with activities and discussions about water testing and quality, as well as activities performed in the field.
“As an educator, I teach my kids to be observant, to take their ideas and test them, and to have science literacy,” says Dr. Hopkins. “My approach is to bring lots of hands-on and minds-on work that opens their eyes to possibilities and feeds their curiosity. I am still in awe that people view what I am doing as worthy to be selected as the CCISD Secondary Teacher of the Year.”