STEP Teachers of Excellence

Salamanca, NY—This month, two Salamanca educators were recognized by the Fredonia Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) to appreciate their commitment to increase the number of historically underrepresented youths' participation in STEM inquiry and innovation through classroom teaching practices.

"Engaging the students through the STEAM subjects is something critically important for us,"

said, Superintendent Robert Breidenstein.

Teachers Cheryl Johnson and Stephen Kew, both part of the STEAM Faculty at Salamanca High School, were honored as STEM Teachers of Excellence during the STEP programs' annual community  STEAM Fair in Salamanca, NY.

The Teachers of Excellence were nominated by colleagues, receiving high praise from students, teachers, friends, and family.

"These educators represent an unwavering commitment to Salamanca science, technology, engineering, and math students in such a challenging year," noted STEAM Coordinator Aaron Straus. "We honor their accomplishments, particularly all the creative ways they brought STEM subjects to life to historically underrepresented  students."

Fredonia STEP, a regional chapter of a state-wide grant-funded outreach initiative,  provides Science & Technology enrichment opportunities to eligible 7-12 students in the Dunkirk, Gowanda, Lake Shore, Silver Creek & Salamanca City Central School District. 

"The program sponsors Salamanca's annual STEAM Fair as well as provides enrichment services to Salamanca students in Academic & Career Exploration, Tutoring in core subject areas & College Campus Visits & Tours, said STEP Director," Danielle O' Connor.

According to district officials, Stephen has been a Technology Teacher for over 30 years and has been responsible for sending generations of Salamanca students to college and careers in the STEAM trades.

"Recently, Stephen worked on a faculty team to help inform the design of the award-winning STEAM Center, which opened in 2019. He started engaging STEAM programs like the  RC Race Car Club and brought a college-credit Solid works class to Salamanca."

Cheryl Johnson, Science 8 Teacher and First Robotics head coach at Salamanca, received high remarks on her dedication to students and STEM, citing a mastery of the ideals and practices.

"Cheryl was one of the High School teachers instrumental in starting the STEAM Program here at Salamanca School District.  I could go on and on about all her accomplishments for engaging historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged youth participation in STEAM inquiry and innovation, but I think one bold and awesome accomplishment is four years ago when she decided to make the STEAM Fair project part of her Science 8 instruction."

STEP is funded through the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

To learn more about Fredonia's STEP program, please visit

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