Former astronaut and public school teacher Barbara Morgan is about to blast off on her latest mission to boost public schools and inspire future teachers.
Morgan, the longtime McCall-Donnelly teacher, NASA mission specialist and member of the Teacher in Space program, is participating in the National School Boards Association’s “Stand Up 4 Public Schools” campaign.
Last week, Morgan participated in a photo shoot for the forthcoming national campaign at locations across Boise State University’s campus and at the West Ada School District. She joins NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, television personality Montel Williams and Khan Academy founder Sal Khan in the campaign.
“It’s a pleasure to be here to do something that is very, very important to you, and I can’t think of anything more important than our public schools, so I love this campaign,” Morgan said during a break in the photo shoot.
Morgan attended and graduated from public schools in Fresno, Calif., before going on to Stanford University, College of Notre Dame and becoming a teacher. Her campaign will include the tagline, “Who I am today began with public education.”
During her teaching career, Morgan was named backup to Christa McAuliffe and trained with McAuliffe and the Challenger crew. Morgan later returned to the McCall-Donnelly district and was then selected as a mission specialist by NASA.
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She completed her first space flight in 2007, a mission to the International Space Station.
During the photo shoot, Morgan donned a blue NASA jacket and her flight helmet for photos at various locations, including the stands high above the blue turf at Albertsons Stadium.
While the NASA gear is attention-grabbing, Morgan hopes everyone who sees the campaign will focus on education, public schools and teaching.
“I would love for them to see inside and underneath and know that I was a public school teacher for 24 years, and I hope they would aspire to be a teacher,” Morgan said.
Morgan became involved with the campaign through West Ada School Board member Anne Ritter, a regional director on the National School Boards Association’s Board of Directors.
Ritter, who lost her re-election bid Tuesday to Julie Madsen, became involved with the campaign and recommended Morgan for last week’s promotional shoot.
The campaign is designed to engage the public around the success of public schools, and is slated to appear in Forbes, Business Week and Education Week. National School Boards Association representatives said the campaign is schedule to be ready by the end of the summer.
A related campaign, “Stand Up 4 Idaho Public Schools,” is active throughout the Gem State.
All photos by Andrew Reed / Idaho Education News.
Disclosure: Idaho Education News is based out of Boise State University, and its employees are university employees.