In 2009 Teachers in Space conducted a rigorous national competition to select its first group of teachers to fly in space. We call them our ‘Pathfinders.’ This exceptional group has been very busy since their selection, receiving training for suborbital spaceflight, developing and leading NASA sponsored workshops and sharing the purpose of Teachers in Space with groups of colleagues. Their dedication to the TIS team’s activities reflects their passion for space, commitment to their students, and of course their strong desire to experience the thrill of spaceflight.

James Kuhl

James Kuhl teaches Earth Science to 6th grade students at Central Square Middle School in Central Square, NY. Over the years he has taught many summer STEM classes including Flight Science for Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and Cape Cod Community College’s Summer of Science (SOS) Maker Movement Class. He applied for the original NASA Teacher in Space program in 1985 and was a finalist for the NASA Educator Astronaut program in 2004. Jim has received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Education and serves on the board of directors of the Science Teachers Association of New York State. He has presented numerous workshops at national, state and local conferences. He has also published in peer-reviewed journals and trade magazines and consulted on the Master Teacher Board for Pearson’s Interactive Science textbook series. His students are currently preparing an experiment to fly on the Perlan 2 glider’s record-breaking, high altitude flight.

Lanette Oliver

Lanette Oliver lives in the small town of Valdez, Alaska where she currently works for Valdez City Schools as a Curriculum Instructional Tutor. Additionally, she is the Executive Director and Lead Teacher for the educational non-profit, SPACE: Science, Physical, Academic, and Cultural Enrichment. SPACE specializes in student-centered, personal and small group educational programs outside of the regular classroom, including after-school and summer programs. Lanette also volunteers as the Aerospace Education Officer for the Valdez Civil Air Patrol Composite Squadron.

Rachael Manzer

Rachael Manzer is a STEM Coach at the Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School in Hartford CT and is the Past President of the Connecticut Science Teachers Association. She is the 2013 Region #1 Magnet School Teacher of the Year, 2010 Civil Air Patrol Aerospace Educator of the Year, and 2010 National Space Club Educator Award. She has also received 2009 Achievement Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and in 2005 received two Group Achievement Awards from NASA Langley Research Center. In 2004, she was a finalist for NASA Educator Astronaut position.

Chantelle Rose

Chantelle is a science teacher at Graham High School in St. Paris. She was the Air Force Association 2006 Ohio Teacher of the Year, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers 2007 Ohio Earth Science Teacher of the Year, and the Scott Crossfield Foundation 2008 Aerospace Teacher of the Year. She was a finalist for the NASA Educator Astronaut selection in 2004.

Robert “Mike” Schmidt

Mike is a second-generation teacher, Schmidt teaches math to grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 at University High School, in the Tucson Unified School District I Tucson, AZ.. An 8-year education veteran, he found out about Teachers in Space while attending a National Science Teachers Association meeting.