Ashley Kincannon, a teacher at Lake Hamilton Junior High School, was named the 2021 Arkansas Computer Science Educator of the Year on Monday by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Hutchinson made the announcement while naming the winners of the Fifth Annual Governor's All-State Coding Competition, which was held last weekend at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Kincannon received a $2,500 award when she was named a finalist for the award, and will receive an additional $12,500 award from the Arkansas Department of Education's Office of Computer Science.
"We are very proud that Mrs. Kincannon has been recognized and honored for her achievements in computer science education. Her hard work and commitment have resulted in an outstanding program, with our students as the beneficiaries," Lake Hamilton Superintendent Shawn Higginbotham said Monday.
"I am impressed when I visit Ashley's classroom. She is always excited to share the activities her students are engaged in. Congratulations to Mrs. Kincannon as the recipient of this distinguished award," he said.
Kincannon told The Sentinel-Record on March 18 she felt she was selected because of some of the innovative practices she implemented in her classroom and her passion and willingness to share what she has learned with others.
"In this area, I'm a very hands-on and active learner and always searching for ways to grow and develop as an individual and as a professional," she said. "My goal is to always try to connect every student to computer science, whether or not (they) initially are turned on to the content.
"As a computer science teacher, my role is just to take learning in my classroom and to really challenge my students to strive to discover on their own," Kincannon said.
Her passion is for computer science because she feels it is a great way of thinking and learning, she said.
"Computer science is at the heart of almost everything we do and encounter. It's one of those things that is a great experience for every child because it teaches kids to think differently about problems and just about situations they encounter in life," Kincannon said.