The National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), a cybersecurity workforce development organization, is proud to congratulate two members of the NICERC community on receiving the inaugural Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award. The U.S. Department of Education selected Donna Woods of Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley, California and Kara Four Bear of New Town Middle School in New Town, North Dakota for instilling cybersecurity skills, knowledge and passion in their students.
Both Donna and Kara are users of NICERC’s K-12 cybersecurity education curriculum and have participated in NICERC-sponsored professional development programs.
“This is an incredible accomplishment for both Donna and Kara and a testament to the work these two are doing to build cybersecurity career readiness with their students,” said Kevin Nolten, director of NICERC. “We are proud to be their partners in delivering cybersecurity education to their schools and inspiring more students to pursue cybersecurity careers.”
Ms. Woods was recognized for creating career and technical education programs focusing on cybersecurity that supplement classroom learning with internships or apprenticeships. Ms. Four Bear was recognized for implementing North Dakota cybersecurity education initiatives focused on improving students’ digital literacy and safety skills. Secretary Betsy DeVos praised both teachers for “helping to prepare our students to fill [cybersecurity] jobs and help keep our nation safe now and in the future.”
“NICERC has been instrumental to me in creating a strong pathway for student success,” said Woods. “Their education partnership and innovative curriculum, free to all educators, has been the foundation of our program at Canyon Springs High School.”
“We’re just a small-town school looking to make an impact on children’s lives on a global scale,” said Four Bear. “Our goal is for learners to see how they fit into a worldly society and for them to dare to dream of the possibilities that await them. These transformations are completely possible for all rural schools in North Dakota and beyond, thanks to partners like NICERC who are committed to evolving and promoting cybersecurity education.”
Through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA)’s Cybersecurity Education Training Assistance Program (CETAP) grant, NICERC develops and distributes cybersecurity curriculum and career awareness resources at no cost to K-12 educators across the country. There are more than 18,000 teachers currently enrolled in NICERC’s content platform across all 50 states and three U.S. territories.
The Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award was created as part of President Trump’s Executive Order on America’s Cybersecurity Workforce to address a shortage of cybersecurity talent and skills. The Department of Education received nominations from 23 states. As part of this award, both educators will be publicly acknowledged by President Donald J. Trump and Secretary Betsy DeVos as being leaders in the field of cybersecurity education and professional development opportunities.