Educators Honored with YouScience® Innovative Educator Award

Press Release from YouScience

After a nationwide search, five educators from Arizona, Colorado, and Oregon are recognized for their unique approach to teaching and implementation of aptitude-enabled education tools

AMERICAN FORK, Utah, April 23, 2024 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- YouScience®, the leading technology provider dedicated to solving the skills gap crisis for students and employers, is proud to announce the recipients of the esteemed YouScience Innovative Educator Award. This award celebrates educators who have implemented innovative approaches to empower the next generation of professionals through academic and career exploration.

"We are thrilled to recognize these exceptional educators for their dedication to innovation in education." - Edson Barton, CEO of YouScience

After reviewing nominations received from around the country, YouScience is excited to congratulate the following educators as the winners:

  • Darren Zink, Paige Kanaly, and Megan Holloway, a teaching team from Mountain View High School in Mesa, Arizona
  • Jessica McAllister from Lewis-Palmer School District in Monument, Colorado
  • Zach Knapp from Vale Middle School in Vale, Oregon

Shaping Future Pathways at Mountain View High School

Members of the Freshman Academic Success Team (FAST) at Mountain View High School —Darren Zink, Paige Kanaly, and Megan Holloway – have been recognized for their collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to education. With over 20 years of teaching experience, Darren Zink, along with Megan Holloway (3 years) and Paige Kanaly (5 years), share a group of 90 students and help them connect what they're learning in the classroom with the real world. By integrating YouScience into their curriculum, they have helped students explore their aptitudes and envision future career pathways. Their teaching philosophy revolves around fostering communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity, while elevating student choice and voice in the classroom.

Highlights of Accomplishments:

  • Integration of aptitude-enabled education and YouScience data to create personalized and relevant classroom curriculum and instruction for their students.
  • Utilizing interdisciplinary teaching systems to make core concepts, including English, biology, and mathematics, relevant for real-world applications and future career pathways.
  • Elevating student choice and voice for understanding and exploring career pathways based on their unique YouScience results.

"On behalf of ElevateEdAZ and our partnership with Mesa Public Schools, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to Mountain View's extraordinary ninth-grade academy teachers, Darren Zink, Megan Hollaway, and Paige Kanaly, on receiving the prestigious YouScience Innovative Educator Award. Thank you for your exceptional contributions to education and for setting a high standard for others to follow. Well deserved! A special thank you to those in the District who make this partnership possible: District Superintendent, Dr. Andi Forlis; Mountain View Principal, Mike Oliver; District Director of CTE and Innovative Partnerships, Marlo Loria; and College and Career Coach, Vicki Schomaker." said Amir Law, EdD, District Director, Mesa Public Schools, ElevateEdAZ.

Pioneering Innovation in Lewis-Palmer School District

Jessica McAllister, the Secondary Programs Coordinator at Lewis-Palmer School District, has been lauded for her entrepreneurial leadership and forward-thinking approach. With over 23 years working in education, McAllister has spearheaded innovative practices, including the implementation of YouScience, to support students in finding their passions and preparing for future careers. Under her leadership, the district, encompassing three district-operated secondary schools, has embraced innovative programs to elevate career and college readiness, work-based learning opportunities, and community partnerships.

Highlights of Jessica McAllister's Accomplishments:

  • Integration of career and technical education (CTE) courses with academic programs, providing a comprehensive educational experience that prepares students for both employment and college.
  • Applying and winning numerous grants to meet the unique needs of her student population, including hiring critical staff and counselors for each of their schools as well as providing access to career exploration programs for the Innovative Learning Opportunities Program she oversees.
  • Focusing on a student-centric approach to education, she led the renovation of an existing building, leveraging district carpentry classes to get hands-on experience in renovation and rallying community members for support, to create a space for student-run businesses. The space now hosts several businesses including the production of goods and services available to our school district departments and eventually, the broader community. Each business is run like a real corporation with students fulfilling the roles of the C-suite, marketing, sales, customer service, and finance teams.

"Jessica's forward and thoughtful thinking is impacting the futures of our students through career and college readiness, work-based learning opportunities, and community partnerships for lasting impact," said Amber Whetstine, Assistant Superintendent of Lewis-Palmer School District 38.

Empowering Students at Vale Middle School

Zach Knapp, a CTE educator at Vale Middle School, has been recognized for his dedication to empowering students to explore career pathways and make informed decisions about their future. With 20 years of teaching experience, Knapp has integrated YouScience into his curriculum, guiding students to discover their aptitudes and interests and align them with relevant educational opportunities. His commitment to student success has led to increased career awareness and readiness among his students.

Highlights of Zach Knapp's accomplishments:

  • Introducing YouScience to help students identify their best-fit career paths and quantify their skills, empowering them to make informed decisions about their futures—whether that's a traditional college pathway or an alternative route.
  • Recognizing the gap in Health Science education, Zach encouraged and supported the high school to pioneer a new high school CNA course, ensuring that students with aptitudes in this career cluster have continued education opportunities after they leave middle school.
  • Creating unique career exploration opportunities for his students, Zach organized a school-wide, full-day field trip, allowing his students to explore eight different local industries and paving the way for early career exposure in middle school.

"As the Vale Middle School CTE teacher, Mr. Knapp's innovative approach not only inspires but also empowers our students to reach their full potential. By incorporating YouScience into his curriculum for all 7th and 8th-grade students, he assists them in identifying their aptitudes and strengths, guiding them toward career and educational pathways that align with their skills. Thanks to his dedication, students transition to high school equipped with individualized 4-year academic plans tailored to their aspirations," said Lisa Andersen, VMS Principal, Vale School District.

Celebrating Innovation in Education

The YouScience Innovative Educator Award celebrates educators who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and creativity in preparing students for the ever-evolving professional landscape. These educators exemplify the essence of innovation in education, leveraging technology and creative teaching methods to empower the next generation of professionals.

"We are thrilled to recognize these exceptional educators for their dedication to innovation in education," said Edson Barton, CEO of YouScience. "Their commitment to student success and readiness for the future is truly commendable, and we celebrate their accomplishments."

Educators, students, and parents are encouraged to nominate deserving candidates for subsequent awards by completing the submission form on the YouScience website.

To learn more about YouScience, please visit

About YouScience

YouScience® is the leading technology provider dedicated to solving the skills and exposure gap crisis for students and employers. Its end-to-end platform, YouScience® Brightpath, connects education with career applications designed to help students unlock their potential for future pathways. YouScience leverages proven research, artificial intelligence, and industry input to help individuals identify their aptitudes, validate their skills and knowledge, and get matched with real-world educational and career pathways in high-demand occupations.

Media Contact

Lindsay Hull, YouScience, 1 5089631356, [email protected],

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