During Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Department of Education announced the 2022 recipients of the Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award.


In a press release, the Education Department said Benjamin Dougherty, of Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio, and Robert “Allen” Stubblefield, Jr., of Troy High School in Fullerton, California, were selected as awardees for “instilling in their students the skills, knowledge, and passion for cybersecurity.”


The Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award is given to two teachers in recognition of their “superior accomplishments as educators, academic achievement indicators, and leadership contributing to the field of cybersecurity.”


“Today, we honor two talented and creative educators who are raising the bar for how we prepare students for rewarding careers in the fast-growing field of cybersecurity,” Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in an Oct. 17 press release. “Educators and instructors nationwide can look to Mr. Dougherty and Mr. Stubblefield as glowing examples of what it takes to inspire passion for cybersecurity in our students and equip them with the academic and technical skills sought out by today’s employers. The Department of Education recognizes that cybersecurity educators are essential to our efforts to build stronger pathways for students into well-paying jobs in a field that’s increasingly vital to our nation’s security and prosperity.”


The Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award is also intended to create awareness for the cybersecurity field and help address the longstanding cybersecurity worker shortage.


“These educators play a crucial role in preparing our nation’s students for cybersecurity careers, helping ensure that these students are empowered with the education and skills to navigate career pathways into the cybersecurity field,” said National Cyber Director Chris Inglis. “Their expertise and dedication are an inspiration to educators and cyber professionals everywhere as we seek to expand high-quality cybersecurity education, prepare students for good-paying job opportunities, and ensure that our nation’s cyber workforce has the best and brightest – from all backgrounds – contributing to our collective defense.”


The Education Department detailed both Dougherty and Stubblefield’s achievements that earned them their awards. Dougherty is the inaugural instructor of the Lakota Cyber Academy, where he has connected a highly technical, student-centered curriculum to strong recruitment and retention metrics. The department noted that he has grown his program to 200 students since launching in 2019, and these students have achieved impressive results in national competitions including National Cyber League and CyberStart America.


Stubblefield is a Cyber Defense educator at Troy High School. Over the past 12 years, he has coached 486 middle school students in CyberPatriot competitions and 327 elementary students through summer camps. “His work with elementary and middle school programs has created a robust watershed of students prepared to enter the high school academic pathway in cybersecurity that he also developed,” a press release noted.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs