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School District Five educator receives state award for excellence in science

For Immediate Release – February 27, 2020


School District Five educator receives state award for excellence in science

CHAPIN – School District Five clean energy technology instructor, Patrick Smallwood, has been named the 2020 South Carolina Academy of Science (SCAS) Teacher of the Year. 


The award recognizes “Excellence in Secondary Science and Mathematics Teaching” and nominees for the award should excel at leading students through the process of scientific inquiry in the classroom and by participation in science fair or research grant activities.


“I am both honored and humbled to be recognized for this award,” Smallwood said. “Supporting and developing superior pre-college scientific talent is an effort that has spanned the majority of my teaching career and a part of my classroom role that is tremendously rewarding. It is amazing what our high school students across our district can accomplish when provided with the right tools and support.”


Smallwood began his career as an educator 16 years ago and has been teaching clean energy technology for the past eight years at The Center for Advanced Technical Studies (The Center). Recruited to join the inaugural staff at The Center, Smallwood developed the Clean Energy Technologies program, working diligently at developing problem-based curriculum designed to teach students not only about alternative energy, but how to work cooperatively to research and design multiple solutions to society problems.  He earned a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of South Carolina - Aiken and master’s of science from the University of South Carolina. Smallwood is also a National Board Certified Teacher. 


The Clean Energy Technology program at The Center enables students to apply fundamental science and operating principles of clean energy systems to authentic problems. Such problems involve motors and generators, photovoltaic systems, water and energy conservation, wind turbines, biofuel generation, bioreactors, water power, energy harvesting, fuel cells and nuclear power. Students use an engineering design process to develop solutions to these authentic problems.


“Mr. Smallwood is a strong advocate for the environment and assists students in recognizing and developing individual and collective responsibility for protecting and preserving our planet,” said Dr. Al Gates, director of The Center. “An outstanding teacher with an ability to guide students' development and presentation of award-winning research projects, Mr. Smallwood provides a model for twenty first century education. We are very excited that he was selected for this honor.”


Jeff Steinmets, President (SCAS), said “You are being recognized for your inspiring teaching and mentoring performance and for creating a superlative learning environment.  Your extraordinary efforts on behalf of your students, as well as outside the classroom and in the community, show your drive for excellent education.”


Smallwood will be honored in an awards ceremony on March 28 at the SCAS Annual Meeting at Furman University. The objective of SCAS is to promote the advancement and constructive use of science in South Carolina.