Gautier High teacher named Air Force Association Miss. Teacher of the Year

William Naron, Air Force Association State Vice President of Aerospace Education and STEM, left, presents the Air Force Association’s Mississippi Teacher of the Year award to Gautier High School teacher David Weigle, who teaches the Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) class. Weigle is piloting the program for the State of Mississippi. The class is one of the Bridge Academies in the Pascagoula-Gautier School District.

Gautier High School teacher David Weigle was honored as the Air Force Association’s Mississippi Teacher of the Year at the Aug. 10, 2020, Pascagoula-Gautier School Board of Trustees meeting.

Weigle was also presented with the South Mississippi Teacher of the Year award from the John C. Stennis Chapter 332 of the Air Force Association. William Naron, AFA State Vice President of Aerospace Education and STEM; Chris Gage, president of the John C. Stennis Chapter; and David Sorensen, vice president of aerospace education for South Mississippi, presented the awards to Weigle.

Weigle teaches the unmanned aerial systems (drones) class which is a vocational program offered through the PGSD’s College and Career Technical Institute. Weigle is piloting the program for the State of Mississippi.

Recently, Weigle and two of his students, Caleb Jackson of Pascagoula High and Latwain Sims from Gautier High, successfully passed the Federal Aviation Administration’s Exam also known as the Remote Pilot Airman Certificate. The three are the first in the school district to receive the certification after completing the first year of the Unmanned Aerial Systems Class which is part of the district’s Bridge Academies.

Weigle was commended for his impressive work in the class which is beginning its second year.

“Mr. Weigle has achieved a new standard for Gautier High School and the unmanned aerial systems program,” Sorenson said. “He has worked extremely hard to foster this new program and engage students into exploring this emerging technology and possible careers this field might offer. We commend his efforts in synchronizing students from both schools and fostering a team to learn about the manufacturing and flying of drones and opening students’ eyes to future careers with drones. He also worked tirelessly to get his program and classroom grants from Ingalls Shipbuilding and Chevron through its Fuel Your School Program.”

Weigle said it is an honor to be chosen AFA State Teacher of the Year. “This accomplishment was a team effort that includes fellow teachers and supportive administrators. I feel lucky to work for a school district where the leaders believe in providing a wide range of classes to allow students to find a subject or area that they are passionate about,” Weigle said. “Teaching the new Unmanned Aerial Systems class has been an exciting endeavor for the students and myself.  Learning the software, technology, and content for this program has been rewarding for this life learner.”

Also in attendance for the awards presentation was Roy Tolbert, principal at Gautier High School.

“As a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant, I was elated to see Mr. Weigle recognized as the Air Force Association Teacher of the Year for the state of Mississippi,” Tolbert said. “His dedication to his students’ learning and his subject expertise of STEM is outstanding, and his class, Unmanned Aerial Systems, reflects the Air Force motto of “Service before Self and Excellence in all we do.” This recognition was well deserved.”


Written by Debbie Anglin


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