Space Foundation Announces New International Teacher Liaisons for 2022

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

  • Cadre of 26 includes 9 new international teachers from nine nations outside the U.S.
  • Program globally promotes space-related STEM education in schools
  • Selectees will take part in the 37th Space Symposium in April

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — March 9, 2022 — Space Foundation, a nonprofit advocate organization founded in 1983 for the global space ecosystem, today announced 26 new educators have been selected to join the Teacher Liaison program, including nine international applicants from Australia, Brazil, Botswana, Canada, Ghana, Indonesia, Portugal, South Africa, and Turkey. The educators were chosen for their active promotion of space and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in the classroom. Space Foundation’s Teacher Liaison program is funded by Lockheed Martin and the Miller-Wood Foundation.

Established in 2004, the Teacher Liaison program is a professional network for an elite group of educators around the world that engages in immersive live and virtual training to inspire the next generation of contributors to the global space ecosystem. Teacher Liaisons serve as advocates for STEM education and use instruction and resources provided by Space Foundation to further integrate space principles into their classrooms, schools, communities and beyond. More than 300 educators from around the world are active Space Foundation International Teacher Liaisons.

Each selected class of Teacher Liaisons is referred to as a “flight” in reference to the teachers’ mission as premier space/STEM educators, and a new flight of Teacher Liaisons is selected each year following a rigorous application process. This program is open to public, private and homeschool teachers, in both informal and formal education, as well as school administrators, principals, specialists, curriculum and instruction developers, and others who deliver educational programs to students. A panel comprised of experienced Teacher Liaisons and representatives from the space industry and the military selected the newest flight.

Remarking on the new teacher liaisons, Space Foundation COO and executive leader of the organization’s Center for Innovation and Education Shelli Brunswick said, “By empowering educators with training and resources, the internationally recognized Teacher Liaison program is preparing the next generation of explorers and entrepreneurs to reach higher orbits for years to come. Congratulations to Teacher Liaison Flight 19-22; we are incredibly proud of their continued promotion of space and STEM education in the classroom.”

Space Foundation supports Teacher Liaisons by providing them the opportunity to participate in specialized training as well as granting them access to innovative space science materials and standards-based lesson plans that incorporate 21st Century Essential Skills, which are critical to students’ success beyond the classroom. Teacher Liaisons receive ongoing support throughout the school year in the form of webinars and both in-person and virtual professional development experiences.

Newly selected Teacher Liaison Zeynep Ceren Çiftsürenm who teaches at Yıl Atatürk Ortaokulu in Turkey commented, “My school is in a disadvantaged area in a small town and many of my students are immigrants or refugees. The education level and economic income of their families are exceptionally low. Our students are highly intelligent and hardworking, their hunger for learning can be seen in their eyes. The biggest inspiration for them is us, the teachers.”

The new flight of Teacher Liaisons will be recognized at Space Foundation’s 37th Space Symposium, to be held April 4-7 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. In addition to the recognition activities, Teacher Liaisons will participate in special programming at the Symposium via a hybrid in-person and virtual delivery format.

Introducing Space Foundation’s Teacher Liaison Flight 19-22

United States


  • Beverley Berekian, Lakewood, California – Ball Junior High School


  • Melinda Bradley, Colorado Springs, Colorado – Space Foundation
  • Alex Grab, Manitou Springs, Colorado – Space Foundation
  • Jessica Schmidt, Englewood, Colorado – Singing Hills Elementary School
  • Katharine Smushkov, Grand Junction, Colorado – Dual Immersion Academy


  • Melisa Jones, Sanford, Florida – Winter Springs Elementary School
  • Amy Kranich, Fort Walton Beach, Florida – Kenwood Elementary School


  • Tanya Anderson, Lisle, Illinois – St. Joan of Arc Catholic School


  • Ronda McCarthy, Des Moines, Iowa – St. Theresa Catholic School


  • Pamela Kraus, Salina, Kansas – Smoky Hill Education Service Center


  • Deb Thibodeau, Georgetown, Maine – South Bristol Elementary School 


  • Tiffany Taylor, Waldorf, Maryland – St. Charles High School


  • Theresa Robertson, Parkville, Missouri – Platte City Middle School


  • Christi Chapman, Missouri City, Texas – Donald Leonetti Elementary
  • Laura Tomlin, Salado, Texas – Salado Middle School


  • Emily Lehnardt, Salt Lake City, Utah – Evergreen Junior High School


  • Christopher Mick, Hudson, Wisconsin – Space St. Croix (STEAM educational 501c3)


  • Jackie Carpenter, South Windsor, NSW – One Giant Leap Australia Foundation


  • Antonio Matos, Minas Gerais, Brazil – Colégio XIX de Março


  • Nonofo Mogopodi, Gaborone, Botswana – Marang Junior Secondary School


  • Ray Bielecki, Cochrane, Alberta – AstroNuts Kids Space Club


  •  Ruby Charlene Opoku, Greater Accra, Ghana – University of Ghana


  • Melva Manalu, West Java, Indonesia – PENABUR  Primary Kelapa Gading  – BPK PENABUR JAKARTA


  • Sandra Vasconcelos, Almada, Seixal – AE Pedro Eanes Lobato

South Africa

  • Steve Sherman, Western Cape, South Africa – Living Maths


  • Zeynep Ceren Çiftsüren, Aydin, Turkey – 100. Yıl Atatürk Ortaokulu

To learn more about Teacher Liaisons and other Space Foundation education programs, please visit

About Teacher Liaisons

Teacher Liaisons, established in 2004 by Space Foundation and operating under Center for Innovation and Education, is a professional network for an elite group of educators around the world. More than 300 Teacher Liaisons advocate for space education using STEM, non-STEM, and 21st century business and life skills to inspire the next generation of contributors to the global space ecosystem. Space Foundation provides live and virtual training, innovative materials, standards-based lesson plans, and mentoring resources. Teacher Liaisons are selected annually following a formal application process. For more information, please visit

About Center for Innovation and Education

Center for Innovation and Education, a division of Space Foundation, is a lifelong learning provider for the global space ecosystem that offers workforce development and economic opportunity for pre-K-12 and university students, teachers, entrepreneurs, businesses and space professionals. Programs and resources are delivered in person or virtually around the globe. Through its Workforce Development Roadmap of programs and resources, Center for Innovation and Education enhances the outlook and opportunities for careers, jobs and business ventures. To learn more about Center for Innovation and Education, please visit, and visit to learn more about Space Foundation Discovery Center.

About Space Foundation

Space Foundation is a nonprofit advocate organization founded in 1983, offering a gateway to information, education and collaboration for space exploration and space-to-Earth industries that define the global space ecosystem. Driven by a partnership model, Space Foundation operates three divisions that unite the entire spectrum of stakeholders — business, government, education and local communities — through support from corporate membership, sponsorship, fundraising and grants. Symposium 365 is the premier source for media and events, including Space Symposium and The Space Report. Center for Innovation and Education is a lifelong learning provider. Global Alliance facilitates collaboration around the world. Visit Space Foundation at, and follow on LinkedIn, Facebook, InstagramTwitter and YouTube.


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Tags: Space Foundation, Center for Innovation and Education, Teacher Liaison program, STEM education, workforce development, professional development, lifelong learning, 37th Space Symposium, STEM, educators, teachers

Media Contacts:

Rich Cooper
Vice President, Strategic Communications & Outreach
Space Foundation
(202) 596-0714
[email protected]

Dottie O’Rourke
TECHMarket Communications
(650) 344-1260
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