Inspired by space, GCAA teacher earns Challenger Learning Center award

When she was 10, she knew she wanted to be a teacher.

Her interest in space grew from watching the Apollo 11 space rocket land on the moon. “I was riveted to the TV the day man walked on the moon.”

Fast forward to present day, and Christine Nobbe, instructional coach at Grand Center Arts Academy, is being recognized as a 2017 Challenger Learning Center Inspiring Teacher. She is among seven teachers who will be awarded in honor of the seven Challenger astronauts who were set to go into space on January 28, 1986, but the spacecraft exploded during the launch. The space shuttle flight included Christa McAuliffe, who would have been the first teacher to go into space.

Nobbe has been an educator for 38 years, working in districts both small and large. She was a gifted education specialist in the Rockwood School District before retiring in 2013. She joined GCAA in 2015 as an instructional coach. Her responsibilities range from helping new teachers to curriculum development to guiding gifted students.

As a former STEAM educator – science, technology, engineering, arts and math – Nobbe was noticed by the Challenger Learning Center, located in Ferguson-Florissant School District, for work in space exploration, robotics and design thinking. She is involved in outreach activities and programs focused on STEAM through the Saint Louis Science Center. She is the conference chair, a volunteer role, for the 2017 International Space Development Conference, hosted by the National Space Society, which will be held in St. Louis in May.

“I love the work I do with space exploration,” said Nobbe. “I’ve spent a lot of time and effort doing something I enjoy.”

The CLC award starts with a nomination process. Nobbe doesn’t know who nominated her, but she is excited about being recognized and hopes she’s been able to “encourage teachers to teach space science.”

“I also hope I’ve been able to inspire a generation of kids to go into STEM and STEAM fields.”

The Inspiring Teacher Celebration is January 26, 2017 at the University of Missouri-St. Louis EdCollabitat in the College of Education.