Skip Navigation

2011 Extreme Classroom Makeover winner

ORAU awards $25,000 grand prize to 5th grade class at Green Magnet Math and Science Academy of Knoxville

April 27, 2011

Green Magnet Math and Science Academy

Mr. Herman Sutton, 5th grade math teacher at Green Magnet Math and Science Academy, celebrates winning the 2011 Extreme Classroom Makeover Contest with students who co-starred in the winning video.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—Teaching is one of the most important professions in the world and, as such, teachers may be viewed as the heroes who shape the future of our nation. One local hero, Herman Sutton Jr., a 5th grade math teacher at Green Magnet Math and Science Academy in Knox County, was today announced as the winner of Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ Extreme Classroom Makeover competition.

In Sutton’s winning video, he shows the impact that technology would have on his math class, by highlighting one student’s math transformation from a mediocre math student to a “math hero.” Sutton then flashes forward 20 years to that same student, now grown, interviewing for a math teaching position, which he ultimately receives.

ORAU’s Extreme Classroom Makeover highlights and supports educators like Sutton who are working on the front lines of our education system and illustrates how technology in the classroom helps teachers inspire more students to pursue math- and science-based careers. Increasing student interest in these fields helps to improve global competitiveness in technology, math and science-based industries. As grand-prize winner, Sutton will receive a $25,000 grant to use toward the purchase of technology enhancements for his classroom.

Contestants entering ORAU’s competition are required to meet specific criteria. They must teach math or science for 5th-8th grade and work for a public school located within 50 miles of Oak Ridge. Additionally, a teacher must submit a short video illustrating the classroom’s need and explain how the new technologies would be used to energize and enhance learning.

ORAU President and CEO Andy Page and Dr. Jim McIntyre, superintendent of Knox County Schools, surprised the winning teacher Wednesday during a school-wide assembly at Green Magnet.

“Today, more than ever, there is a great need to keep young students engaged in the subjects of math and science,” explained ORAU President and CEO Andy Page. “ORAU is engaged in the mission of advancing K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) initiatives for our schools in East Tennessee and I am confident that Mr. Sutton will be a great ambassador for that mission. Working together in programs like the Extreme Classroom Makeover, we can excite the next generation of scientists and engineers, and help the true heroes like Mr. Sutton pass along his passion for the subject of math that will benefit his students for years to come.”

“The Knox County Schools are honored to receive this generous award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities,” said Dr. McIntyre. “Partnerships such as this allow us to envision the ideal technology-enhanced classroom, which ultimately will lead to greater student achievement and give our kids a clear advantage in today’s increasingly competitive global environment.”

For years, ORAU’s university consortium and its strong partnerships with the U.S. Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have uniquely positioned the company as a strong ally in promoting science education.

“Winning this classroom makeover proves that dreams do come true,” explained Green Magnet Principal Sherry Hensley. “With the funding to purchase needed equipment, our math lab will become technologically advanced and will give our students a greater opportunity to explore and expand their knowledge.”

Next steps for Green Magnet include selection, purchase and setup of new technology to make over the classroom. ORAU will unveil the redesigned classroom in a special reveal event in late summer before the new school year.

ORAU will follow Sutton’s class during the 2011-2012 academic school year to track how he is using the technology. Sutton and his students will be encouraged to blog about the experience and post on social media pages.

This is the third year ORAU has sponsored the Extreme Classroom Makeover competition. The grand prize winner in 2010 was Jordan Haney, a teacher at Rocky Hill Elementary. His classroom makeover included additional computers, iPads, iPod Touches, document and digital cameras, a fish tank, television and other technology that helped advance his students’ learning activities.

View the winning video on the 2011 Extreme Classroom Makeover video page.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

U.S. Congressman John Duncan Commenting on Grand Prize Winner

John Duncan, Jr.

“I want to thank ORAU for offering this creative and innovative competition and congratulate the students and teachers at Green Magnet Math and Science Academy in Knoxville for all their hard work. This is a very fine school and deserving of this makeover. I speak at many schools each year in East Tennessee, and it is wonderful to see students and teachers leading in the field of science and technology. East Tennessee has such a rich history in these fields, and it is important to support these curriculums in every way we can.”
— U.S. Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr.

Media Contacts

Pam Bonee
Work: 865.576.3146
Cell: 865.603.5142

Wendy West
Work: 865.576.0028
Cell: 865.207.7953