John Heffernan Portrait Photo
This award is a recognition of my passion for a deep understanding and a tireless commitment to bringing both the joys and challenges of engineering to elementary students and teachers. Technology has produced great things but has also caused problems. We need talented and caring scientists and engineers to address our challenges. We must nurture the natural engineering instincts of young children. We cannot wait until middle and high school to interest students in engineering. 

John Heffernan Williamsburg, MA | K-6, Science, 2014

For the past 12 years, John Heffernan has been the pre-kindergarten through sixth grade technology teacher at the Anne T. Dunphy School. Previously, he taught third grade in Amherst, MA for seven years; was an educational technology consultant for the Collaborative for Educational Services; and was a Principal Software Engineer for Digital Equipment Corporation. John’s passion is elementary engineering education. He believes in nurturing young children’s natural engineering instincts throughout elementary school to create the STEM workforce of the future. John has presented sessions on technology, science, and engineering education at numerous conferences. He is co-author of an upcoming article, "Robotics as Computational Manipulatives," in the Journal of Research in Technology Education. He is also the author of "Elementary Engineering: Sustaining the Natural Engineering Instincts of Children." John is a member of the LEGO Education Advisory Panel. John has B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Tufts University, a M.Ed. in elementary education from Lesley University, and an Education Specialist degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is currently completing a doctorate in STEM education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is certified in both elementary and K–12 technology education.