SOUTH VERMILLION, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A local teacher is being nationally recognized for efforts to bring STEM education to her school district.

South Vermillion K-5 STEM teacher Amber Pitts has been named the “Teacher of the Year” by “Project Lead the Way,” a non-profit that trains teachers in creating hands-on learning experiences in the classroom.

Pitts used the curriculum to bring hands-on STEM education to South Vermillion Elementary Schools. She was the district’s first K-5 STEM teacher and has taught in three different buildings throughout the pandemic.

The district’s STEM program has since grown, and today, Pitts was recognized for her work in making it a success. Pitts said she feels inspired by this recognition.

“When you actually receive this type of an award, it’s like ‘okay, wow, what I’m doing, I need to keep doing this.'”

David Dimmett, President and CEO of Project Lead the Way, said Pitts and the district set a good example for school districts across the country.

“We want more districts in more communities all across the U.S. To look at the work that they’re doing for students in the way that this district has done that,” Dimmett said.

This year, the district was able to get a second STEM teacher for its elementary schools and has also introduced “Project Lead the Way” curriculum in its middle and high schools.