News Release Details

EAC’s Dean of Instruction named EASI 2016 STEM Educator of the Year

Story Photo


EAC’s Dean of Instruction named EASI 2016 STEM Educator of the Year

By Lori Dugan

Thatcher, AZ—Eastern Arizona College Dean of Instruction, Dr. Phil McBride, was awarded the Eastern Arizona Science Initiative’s (EACSI) 2016 Educator of the Year Award for 7-14th grade teachers at a meeting last week.

EASI recognizes two outstanding educators every year, one representing Pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade and another representing 7th through 14th (college level), who are actively involved in providing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in the Eastern Arizona region. The award was also presented to Mr. Ron Hileman, 4th grade teacher from Duncan Elementary School, as the educator of the year for students through sixth grade.

McBride, also a chemistry and physics teacher at Thatcher High School, was selected for his superior work in providing STEM education for the Eastern Arizona community.

“He regularly seeks out grant opportunities to support teacher improvement, and directs large-scale STEM activities and events like the annual Gila Valley Health & Science Festival that bring community members of all ages together with EAC instructors, and businesses and local professionals, for exciting hands-on activities to explore STEM education and career opportunities,” said EASI director, Paul Anger. “He also directs the annual College for Kids program for elementary age students and the annual Chemistry Day for high school students from throughout the state to attend and compete in stimulating activities and procedures to earn the title of ‘Top Chemistry Team.’”

As a long-time member of the Arizona Science Teachers Association, currently serving as Membership Secretary, McBride is essential in organizing the annual conferences of teacher workshops that provide educators from all over Arizona professional development opportunities to improve their knowledge and teaching skills.

In demonstrating his love of teaching chemistry, McBride created a complete lesson curriculum, in conjunction with Freeport-McMoRan, to teach the chemical processes of copper mining using actual methods and hands-on activities designed to inspire youth to pursue higher education and careers in chemistry and science.

As a member of the Boy Scouts of America, Dr. McBride directed a unique Boy Scout Camporee where all the activities and competitions are designed as STEM lessons. From astronomy to fire building, the scouts gain experience and understanding of the scientific principles behind the activity.

EAC Provost, Jeanne Bryce pointed out that “Dr. McBride is one of those rare leaders who works equally well with subordinates, colleagues, and executive leaders… One of his leadership strengths is his ability to demand attention in a witty and clever way when he speaks or presents. He is definitely a master teacher."

Both recipients received a framed certificate distinguishing them as STEM Educator of the Year, as well as a $25-off certificate donated by the Home Depot in Thatcher for classroom science supplies, a certificate for an educational outreach visit for two to the Mt. Graham International Observatory from the EAC Discovery Park Campus, and a $25 gift certificate donated by El Charro Restaurant in Safford for a meal.

“EASI appreciates the friends who generously donate gifts to honor the STEM Educators of the year, as well as the Eastern Arizona Community for continued support of local educators,” said Anger.

EASI is a non-profit group of educators and professionals whose mission is to improve STEM education and provide teacher professional development throughout Eastern Arizona. For more information on activities or opportunities to donate or volunteer, please contact Anger at (928) 428-6260 or by email at