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Ben Owens

  • Brasstown, NC, US
  • Tri-County Early College High School
  • Mathematics, Science, Technology | 9th, 10th, 11th
  • Teaching for 10 years

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Nothing will work unless you do. -Maya Angelou

I grew up the son of artists and educators in a rural mountain community in Northeast, Georgia. With degrees in physics and mechanical engineering, I was able to work in industry for 20 years at various locations across the US. This experience made it clear to me that we had to do a better job of giving students the skills they needed to collaborate and compete with anyone in today's knowledge-based, global economy. Deciding to stop belly-aching and do something about it, I got my education credentials and left the high-flying corporate world in 2007 to teach science & math at a small public school in rural Appalachia. I love what I do and love where I live! Join me and let's think outside the box (or at least question why the box may not have been big enough in the first place!) so that through stronger educational systems, we can make a positive change to the economic vector of this great country!

Professional experience

My current job title: 

Physics & Mathematics Learning Guide

I began this job in: 



Tri-County Early College High School


Cherokee County Schools

City / town: 


State, province, or region: 

North Carolina


United States

My school would best be described as: 


Percentage of students at my school who qualify for the federal free/reduced lunch program: 

76 to 100%

Years (including this school year) I have been a classroom teacher: 


Years (including this school year) I have worked in education: 


Other professional experience: 

Mechanical Engineer with E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. (DuPont) from 1989 to 2007 at locations in Camden, SC; Mobile, AL; Nashville, TN; Santa Barbara, CA; and Charleston, WV. I am also on the Teacher Advisory Panel for Hope Street Group, the Teacher Advisory Council for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Partnership Advisory Council for Western Carolina University.

Name of my union or association: 

Other (please specify)

Professional organizations: 

American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASCD, National Science Teachers Association, & National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Education and preparation

University or other program that initially prepared me to teach: 

Marshall University

I was initially prepared to teach in this type of program: 

Graduate program

College/university degrees: 

Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology (1987); Bachelor of Science in Physics, North Georgia University (1987)


Leadership roles I play or have played: 

Author of a publication about teaching
Conference speaker or panelist
Mentor of new teachers
Curriculum developer beyond my classroom
Department chair or team leader
Provider of school-based PD
Afterschool summer activity coordinator
Supervisor of student teacher(s)

Professional accomplishments: 

Other honors, awards, and recognitions

Education interests and goals

One positive change I hope to see in our schools: 

We have to do a better job of connecting what happens in the classroom to what happens in the real-world and do it for ALL students, regardless of their background or career aspirations. We've settled way too long for a "sage on the stage, desks in rows, be quiet and listen, follow my directions, etc." approach in public education and must create an entire ecosystem where students are actively involved in innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communicating, accessing & analyzing information, and making frequent connections to their communities, all while being engaged in interesting, but rigorous activities that allow them to network with and compete with anyone on the planet. This, to me, is nothing short of a moral imperative.

My current leadership goal: 

Help other teachers see that you don't need a piece of paper or a title to be a mover & shaker in their classroom, school, district, state, and beyond!

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