STEM coach empowers students with creative teaching methods

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Fayette County Public Schools District STEM Learning Coach Josh Rayburn (20) is all about sparking a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics…and he has found some creative ways to do it. The most notable would be his work on the STEM Bus, a mobile learning lab that travels to elementary schools across Fayette County. 

For his work, Rayburn, a 2020 graduate of Morehead State University’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Technology program, was honored with the 2020 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Arts and Technology Network Creativity Award.  

“I feel like this award represents me as a whole,” Rayburn said. “I am a member of ISTE and submitted my material, not thinking I would win. I am very excited about this award and proud to be one of the few that have won the awards.”    

Originally from Dry Ridge, now a resident of Lexington, Rayburn said he knew from an early age he wanted to be someone who shapes people the same way his favorite teachers shaped him.    

“I had great teachers growing up that made a huge impact on me and my life,” he said. “I knew I wanted to have an impact on other people, as well.”    

Rayburn’s interests in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) overlapped as he figured out ways to incorporate music and the arts into other classrooms. His passion for music led him to him earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music before earning an education specialist degree, all from Eastern Kentucky University. He said he was sitting in a Kentucky Society for Technology in Education session led by MSU Associate Professor of Education Technology Dr. Jeannie Justice, who mentioned the Doctor of Education in Educational Technology program.    

“I liked that the program was all online and I could still work and complete this program,” Rayburn said.  

Rayburn earned his doctorate while working for Fayette County Public Schools for the past 10 years. For the last two years, he has served as a district STEM learning coach.    

“My job now helps teachers see that you can provide hands-on instructions through design thinking and engineering and STEM,” he said. “My degree has helped me design better instruction using technology. I have also been provided with different tools to access technology and provide help for teachers and my district when looking at different technology tools.”    

Rayburn was honored to receive the ISTE Arts and Technology Network Creativity Award last year and wants to continue to use technology to help both students and teachers.    

“My favorite part about my job is seeing students shine and light up when they are successful,” he said. “I also love seeing teachers smile when their students shine on the bus and using STEM in their class.”    

For more information about MSU’s Volgenau College of Education and its programs, call 606-783-2162 or visit www.moreheadstate.edu/education