Spotsy High teacher awarded national honor in cybersecurity education
From Spotsylvania County Schools:
Spotsylvania High School teacher Kristina Rice is receiving the Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award from the U.S. Department of Education, a
prestigious national honor to recognize her work educating students in the increasingly vital field of cybersecurity. Rice was one of just two teachers selected for the award from thousands of nominations from across the country.
“Ms. Rice’s impressive recognition reflects the division’s commitment to helping our students develop real-world, essential skills they need for success in the future,” said Dr. Scott Baker, Superintendent of Spotsylvania County Public Schools. “We’re so proud that Ms. Rice is receiving the national spotlight she deserves for cultivating deep learning in the field of cybersecurity for the students she inspires each and every day.”
The Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award not only honors her work instilling the skills and passion for cybersecurity in her students, but also for her students’ achievements. Rice leads the Spotsylvania High School Cyber Knights program, inspiring students from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in cybersecurity and providing resources to all students to follow their passions in the field. Under Ms. Rice’s direction, the all-girls Cyber
Knights team placed 2nd in both the 2019 and 2020 Girls Go Cyberstart National Championships.
“My first year of teaching, I only had 12 girls across all three of my classes,” said Rice. Just one year later, after the championships, that number more than tripled. “A lot of these kids don’t really know about cybersecurity and what it entails,” Ms. Rice continued. “I’ve been amazed at how much the program at Spotsylvania High School has grown, and I’ve opened the eyes of students who didn’t even realize this could be a career for them.”
Rice’s students have an impressive 100% graduation rate, a 100% college, military and career readiness attainment rate, and more than 98% go on to earn industry certifications. Her dedication to the field has had a national influence, with Ms. Rice designing a pacing guide for other educators teaching cybersecurity that was shared around the country. “This is a huge honor to be recognized as the single secondary-level educator across the nation for cybersecurity education,” Ms. Rice said, admitting she’d become overwhelmed with emotion after discovering she’d won. “It was just very humbling. I’m excited that I get to represent Spotsylvania County Public Schools and Spotsylvania High School, and put us on the map nationally.”
Rice will be honored during the NICE K12 National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education Conference on December 6th and 7th where she will also sit down for a moderated panel with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten