Inaugural Educator Award Winners Announced

Inaugural Educator Award Winners Announced


We are thrilled to announce the winners for CYBER.ORG’s inaugural Educator Awards, who will be celebrated at our annual Cyber Education Discovery Forum (CEDF) in Washington, D.C. on June 20-22

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We are thrilled to announce the winners for CYBER.ORG’s inaugural Educator Awards, who will be celebrated at our annual Cyber Education Discovery Forum (CEDF) in Washington, D.C. on June 20-22. These educators have been champions of K-12 cybersecurity education in their classrooms, schools, and communities, where they are spearheading cybersecurity initiatives and increasing student cyber literacy. Educators play an essential role in introducing students to cybersecurity and the possibility of careers in the field.

This year, we have the privilege of recognizing four leading educators from across the country who are teaching cybersecurity in new and innovative ways and exemplify an undeniable commitment to growing the future cybersecurity workforce. Each finalist will teach a master class at CEDF.

Let’s meet our 2022 Educator Award Finalists:

Ben Doughtery Classroom
Benjamin Dougherty, 10 - 12th Grade Cybersecurity and Math Teacher

Ben Dougherty is a cybersecurity and mathematics teacher for 10 -12th grade at Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio. Over the past three years, he launched a cybersecurity program for the school and throughout the entire school district. Despite launching the program amidst COVID-19, over 80 students enrolled across the program's three courses. To get more female students involved in the cybersecurity program, he encouraged his female students to launch a local chapter of Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS). WiCyS is an organization dedicated to advancing the representation of women in the cybersecurity field. Lakota West High School is the third high school in the nation to have a local WiCyS chapter to support young women as they build their cyber skills and explore careers in the industry. In addition to Ben’s involvement in WiCyS, he is part of NICE K12 Cybersecurity Education Community of Interest and a coach for the National Cyber League.

Ben plans to present at the upcoming NICE K12 Cybersecurity Education Conference and the Cybersecurity Education Symposium, and get involved with NICE K12 Cybersecurity Education Community of Interest. This summer he will participate in the National Cybersecurity Teaching Academy, all while encouraging his students to chase their passion for cybersecurity.

Join Ben for his master class, “Adversarial Thinking in Cybersecurity,” at CEDF; participants will learn about adversarial thinking and its role in cybersecurity. Along with fun classroom activities to do with students to better understand and develop an adversarial thinking mindset. 

Monika Moorman Classroom
Monika Moorman, 3rd Grade Teacher, Head of the Coding & Robotics Clubs

Monika Moorman is a third-grade core subject teacher and head of the Coding and Robotics Clubs at Central Park Elementary in Plantation, Florida. Monika is being recognized for her ongoing efforts to  ensure that all students, especially those from minority and diverse backgrounds, have the opportunity to pursue cybersecurity education. As head of the Coding and Robotics Clubs, Monika has encouraged more girls to get involved in the club, doubling the clubs’ enrollment over the last two years. Monika is also a member of numerous professional education organizations, including the Florida Association of Science Teachers, Computer Science Teacher Association, and National Science Teaching Association, to name a few.

Monika was a member of a national cohort tasked with creating the K-12 Cybersecurity Learning Standards. She will continue integrating CYBER.ORG’s K-12 Cybersecurity Learning Standards in her third-grade curriculum, introducing cybersecurity experts to her students and inspiring underrepresented students to learn computer programming. Monika was also a recipient of the CYBER.ORG grant that enabled her to equip her students with cyber:bots and engage them in cybersecurity challenges involving block-based coding and Python.

Join Monika for her master class, “Cybersecurity is Elementary!,” at CEDF to learn about the importance of cybersecurity in the world today and explore the many careers in the cyber workforce. Participants will also test and debug code to create a working password generator using micro:bits.

Latasha Perreault Classroom
Latasha Perreault, 9 – 12th Grade Computer Science and Cybersecurity Teacher

Latasha Perreault is a a computer science and cybersecurity teacher for 9-12th grade at Monterey High School in Lubbock, Texas. Latasha successfully launched a cybersecurity pathway at her campus and worked with the district administration to update its course offerings. As a result of her efforts, the Foundations of Cybersecurity course launched this year, and the Digital Forensics course launches next year. Under Latasha’s leadership, her students formed a CyberPatriot team to compete at the CyberPatriot’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. The contest challenges middle school and high school students to leverage their cyber skills on the national stage. Additionally, Latasha is part of the Computer Science Teachers Association and Texas Computer Educators Association. Latasha participated in the Computer Science Teachers Association Computer Science for English Learners program (CSTA CSforEL), which provides strategies to better reach English learners in the computer science classroom.    

Latasha was recently accepted to the National Cybersecurity Teachers Academy and will be attending the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for a graduate certificate in cybersecurity. This summer, she plans to review CYBER.ORG curriculum to prepare to take the CompTIA Security+ exam and network with other teachers advancing cybersecurity education in their classrooms.

Join Latasha for her master class, "What’s the worst that can happen? Healthy risk-taking while teaching cyberterrorism in the cybersecurity classroom," at CEDF to prepare a lesson plan on cyberterrorism. Participants will collaborate to create a lesson plan using a balance of social-emotional and instructional strategies, hands-on activity, and class discussion.

Neil Plotnick Classroom
Neil Plotnick, 10 – 12th Grade Cybersecurity Teacher

Neil Plotnick is a 10-12th grade cybersecurity teacher at Everett High School in Everett, Massachusetts. Neil established the very first cybersecurity program at Everett High School, which is made up of an incredibly diverse student body, with over 60 languages spoken in the community. Neil has had the pleasure of teaching cybersecurity to students from around the World, having students from Haiti, Morocco, and elsewhere in his classroom. He also works alongside fellow educators from India to Bosnia to advance STEM curriculum at Everett High School. In addition to being the school’s first cybersecurity teacher, Neil founded the cybersecurity educators group on Facebook, the leading forum for cybersecurity educators worldwide to network and collaborate. Neil is also part of the Computer Science Teacher Association and assisted in developing the CYBER.ORG standards.

In 2015, Neil received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the nation’s highest award for teaching STEM. Neil plans to continue teaching cybersecurity and STEM curriculum to his students and supporting cybersecurity teachers through the Facebook group.

Join Neil for his master class, “Egg-Carton Binary,” at CEDF, where he will represent decimal numbers in binary and create a physical representation of number systems.


Congratulations, Benjamin, Monika, Latasha, and Neil on being named CYBER.ORG Educator Awards winners!

Thank you to our Sponsors!

the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Palo Alto Networks. Your support is vital to ensuring that all K-12 students have equal access to cybersecurity education and the option to pursue cybersecurity careers.

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