Early College’s Thomas Savage Selected as a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Recipient of the 2023 Career Award for STEM Teachers

Photo of early college students

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (March 10, 2023) – An Early College teacher has been selected as a Burroughs Wellcome Fund recipient of the 2023 Career Award for STEM Teachers (CAST).

Thomas Savage, NBCT, is one of four teachers in North Carolina to receive the award this year, after a rigorous selection process.

CAST recognizes outstanding STEM teachers in North Carolina who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in their classrooms, schools, and communities. The award provides $175,000 over five years and presents opportunities for professional development and collaboration with other teachers.

Savage plans to use the grant to develop young scientists across Henderson County. The award will enhance the existing STEM curriculum at elementary schools to include new science equipment and opportunities for HCPS elementary teachers to attend science conferences. Each year of this five year grant, Savage will work with two different elementary schools beginning with Bruce Drysdale Elementary and Hillandale Elementary.

“Mr. Savage’s Young Scientists proposal spoke to me from the very first time we sat down to discuss his idea, and I appreciate his leadership and willingness to expand his passion for science beyond his classroom walls.  Not only does it expand hands-on, experiential science to multiple elementary schools, it also utilizes high school students to help present the material,” said Superintendent Mark R. Garrett. “This collaboration will be beneficial to all ages, making Young Scientists a force multiplier.  I am excited to see this grow over the next five years.”

A focus on the grant is developing a mentorship program between Early College chemistry students and elementary students. The Early College students will serve as science ambassadors, along with elementary school science teachers.

“This truly is not about me but about you guys and the impact we will be able to make in elementary schools,” said Savage to Early College students after receiving the award. “I am thrilled to see the effect this will have on young students and everyone at Early College.”

A National Board Certified Teacher, Savage has been with Henderson County Early College, since the start of the program in 2009. He received a bachelor’s degree in Geography/Natural Science from Worcester State University and a Masters in Geosciences from Mississippi State University.

At Early College, Savage teaches Foundations of Science; Physical Science, Earth Science, and Chemistry. A leader in his school community, Savage leads Science Olympiad and Summer STEM Programs.

“Mr. Savage is someone that I never want to lose. He is a teacher that inspires other teachers,” said Shannon Auten, the principal at Innovative High School. “How many schools can say that they received the Burroughs Wellcome Fund grant? We are going to have numerous STEM resources for not only Early College but for hundreds of students in Henderson County. ”