Not every campus has a rocket
scientist on faculty—but Cleburne ISD’s Lowell Smith Middle School does.
Roel Peña spent more than 20
years as an aeronautical engineer at Lockheed Martin before beginning a second
career as a science teacher. While still at Lockheed, he began volunteering his
time with a fifth-grade after-school aeronautics club; Peña now teaches sixth
grade science and sponsors the Robotics and Engineering student group.
“You can tell Mr. Peña wants
us to learn. He always talks to us about doing our best,” Gisselle Limón said.
“In labs, we all have a job to do. We all have a part—no one is left out.”
Isis Estrada says Peña has
changed her attitude toward science.
“I used to hate science, it
was the class I had to work at the hardest. I think we learn better due to how
he teaches us—he breaks things down into smaller pieces. Last week we made a
roller coaster to understand about kinetic and potential energy. He makes
science class fun.”
“Although my work on rockets
and missiles was rewarding, I felt compelled to get my education degree and
teaching certification,” Peña said. “I began volunteering in the community and
felt a real burden for children who did not feel secure, who had seen personal
loss. Not every child sees amazing things in the world around them due to what
is going on in their lives.”
a teacher, I strive to help them see beyond today—to see possibilities. I am
glad to work among people who feel the same.” #IAmTXEd Cleburne
Independent School District