Rick Sandlin 04/22/2015 Interview

Interviewee
Rick Sandlin Texarkana, Texas Independent School District (retired)
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PostedWednesday, August 12, 2015

  • Q
    How did you get involved in Pre-K-12 Engineering Education?
    A
    I became involved in PreK-12 Engineering Education in 2006 when I was named Principal of Martha and Josh Morriss Mathematics & Engineering Elementary School located in Texarkana ISD in Texarkana, Texas. Morriss Elementary is part of a STEM collaboration between Texarkana Independent School District, Texarkana College and Texas A&M University at Texarkana. Morriss Elementary provides an Engineering Curriculum to 400 students in grades K-5. Students can continue to remain in STEM at Texas Middle School and then Texas High School which will give them a strong Engineering background if they choose to enroll in the Engineering Program at Texas A&M University at Texarkana.
  • Q
    What motivates you to do this work?
    A
    I get excited as I see elementary students using the Engineering Process to solve problems. The Engineering Process gives the student a map to follow to find solutions. I also like to see students working together to solve problems with the understanding that the solution may not be discovered on the first attempt.
  • Q
    What advice would you give an educator or administrator who is interested in PreK-12 engineering education, but knows very little about it?
    A
    I would recommend locating schools that currently provide Engineering and make a site visit. I would also visit with community members about the benefits of providing engineering to the students in your school district. Also, there are resources like Engineering Is Elementary that are very helpful.
  • Q
    What has been the most significant challenge for you in implementing PreK-12 engineering education, and how have you tried to address the challenge?
    A
    Finding quality engineering curriculum materials was probably the most challenging problem starting out. The Boston Museum of Science contains great resources. The second challenge included Teacher Professional Development in the area of Engineering. We were very fortunate to have Texas A&M University at Texarkana to take a leadership role in working with our district team to provide excellent teacher professional development.