PLYMOUTH — Julie Sicks-Panus, STEM teacher at Plymouth Elementary School and faculty member for WinnAero, was recently honored for her teaching excellence. Sicks-Panus was selected by the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association as a 2020 Leader to Watch in STEM education.

“This is a wonderful recognition award from a prestigious association,” said Sicks-Panus. “Every teacher strives to bring the best educational processes to their assigned classes and the ITEEA honor reinforces what we’re all trying to do with STEM activities for youth.”

The recognition is based on teachers’ innovative approaches to STEM education in the classroom and beyond. The Paxton-Patterson Company sponsors the award. Sicks-Panus has been involved for years with ITEEA, and served on the team who revised and updated the ITEEA standards for technological and engineering literacy. Sicks-Panus was nominated by her colleagues to run for Region One director for the organization.

Besides teaching in Plymouth, Sicks-Panus volunteers as education officer for the Hawk Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol and teacher for WinnAero ACE Academies.

WinnAero President Karen Mitchell, herself a science and technology teacher, applauded ITEEA’s choice. “Throughout her 25 years as a teacher, Julie has always sought out new and innovative ways to instruct her students and does an outstanding job for us each year teaching and mentoring youth who attend our ACE Academies. She is richly deserving of this honor.”

To learn more about ITEEA, visit To learn more about STEM-focused, hands-on activities for youth using aviation and aerospace, visit

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