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Teacher ‘links’ with pro golfer’s program

During the school year, Nancy Brinson educates students in Burke County’s SGA Elementary in Sardis. This summer she will spend time as a pupil in a prestigious program 800 miles up the east coast.
Brinson, a Sylvania resident, was selected as one of the mathematics and science teachers at the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy that will be conducted in Jersey City, N.J., July 20-25. The Mickelson is for professional golfer Phil and his wife Amy.
However, Brinson will not be fine tuning her drives off the tees or learning to read putting greens with more perfection. She instead will be sharing her knowledge in science with other teachers, while receiving instructional guidance from knowledgeable faculty.
Exxon Mobil Corporation and the Phil Mickelson Foundation’s Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy are five-day sessions taught by a faculty compiled through the National Science Teachers Association and Math Solutions.
As a participant, Brinson and the other teachers from around the nation will experience an engaging approach to many math and science concepts. The academy faculty will follow the theory that students learn best when they are allowed to work out explanations for themselves over time through a variety of learning experiences structured by the teacher.
“I am both honored and humbled to have been chosen for this opportunity and I look forward to learning new ideas pertaining to math and science that I can bring back to my classroom and share with others,” said Brinson, who taught one year at Savannah River Challenge and just completed her seventh year at Sardis-Girard-Alexander Elementary School.
Brinson admitted she did not think she would be selected as a teacher for the academy when any educator in the United States could apply.
“I heard about the contest from a TV commercial with Phil Mickelson explaining the program and encouraging teachers to apply,” Brinson said. “I applied and submitted an essay and really forgot about it. I didn’t think there would be any way I could possibly get picked in a national competition. About a year later, they contacted me and stated that I was chosen -- it was a total surprise!”
This was the first time Brinson had ever applied for the academy. The academy will provide an opportunity for teachers to learn from the faculty and from each other.
“As part of the program, all of the recipients are asked to join the Mickelson Teacher Academy Facebook page so we can start communicating with one another and continue to share ideas for years to come,” Brinson said. “As a result, I have already learned a lot about other teachers all over the United States. We are making plans to do some fun things in New York, take in a play, do some sightseeing, and I have already signed up for a Yankees game.
“Our hotel is located on the river and we have the New York skyline as our view,” she said. “I’m very excited about the whole experience. I am appreciative of Phil and Amy Mickelson for starting the Teacher Academy and ExxonMoblil for sponsoring it.”
According to its website, the goals for the academy include deepening participant’s understanding of mathematics and science content in the areas of data and statistics, measurement, force and motion; building expertise in facilitating student learning through problem solving and inquiry; using links between math and science to support student learning; understanding how children learn and its application to classroom instruction; building a knowledge base and use of instructional resources to support students’ learning; and networking with others involved in elementary school mathematics and science education.
Phil Mickelson, 44, has won 42 events on the Professional Golf Tour, including five major championships -- three Masters titles, a PGA Championship, and an Open Championship. Mickelson is one of 15 golfers in the history to win at least three of the four professional majors.
Mickelson married Amy in 1996 and the couple has three children.