Shapiro wins national award

Published 10:24 pm Saturday, May 5, 2018

Forest Glen Middle School technology education teacher Debra Shapiro was recognized recently as a Distinguished Technology and Engineering Professional by the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association.

“I couldn’t do it without my coworkers and my family,” Shapiro said. “My husband and son have been extremely supportive, and my parents have supported me in my field of work.”

The ITEEA held its 80th annual conference, and Shapiro presented a STEM showcase before getting her award. Along with her award, Shapiro was also installed on the ITEEA Board of Directors as the Region 1 Director.

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This is her 28th year working for Suffolk Public Schools, and she started working at Forest Glen when it opened in 1990. Shapiro was the first female technology education teacher in Suffolk, and she has taught two of the other six female technology educators.

Shapiro is regularly involved in professional organizations for technology teachers, and she puts a lot of effort into her classroom activities.

“I try to do as much as I can with classroom activities, because we don’t get a lot of money to do much,” Shapiro said.

Shapiro has gone out of her way to apply for grants so that she can have plenty of activities in her classroom. She applied and was awarded an enrichment stipend from Delta Kappa Gamma. She used this stipend to purchase a 3-D printer, and she received a loan from the principal to purchase a second one.

Shapiro keeps the classroom interesting by having her students build windmills, kites and bridges. They have even made fudge.

Being involved with technology has been part of Shapiro’s plan since she was in high school. While she was still in high school, she was working on completing an associate degree in drafting and design at her local community college. A year after high school, she finished the degree and started working as a drafter in Des Moines, Iowa.

She later went to the University of Northern Iowa to get her bachelor’s degree in industrial arts education, and she completed a master’s degree at Old Dominion University.