NASA has selected the Space Foundation to form a “Blue Ribbon Panel” to develop new educator astronaut evaluative criteria. Led by Dr. Patricia “Patty” Arnold, Space Foundation Vice President of Education and Workforce Development, the nine-member panel is meeting at Space Foundation headquarters for an intensive five-week effort before submitting final criteria to NASA on July 3rd.

The panel’s goal is to establish an efficient and effective mechanism for selecting applicants, including defining a “superior educator,” reviewing existing educator astronaut evaluative data, researching the literature on quality teachers, and determining the most effective rating system.

The Space Foundation submitted the winning proposal to NASA, which led to Arnold’s selection as panel leader. Other panel members were selected for their diversity, professional affiliations and geographic location.

“Inspiring the next generation is a crucial challenge for both NASA and the Space Foundation,” said Foundation President & Chief Executive Officer Elliot G. Pulham. “The Educator Astronaut Program is an incredibly powerful tool for engaging students and teachers, and we are honored to be supporting NASA in this endeavor.”

More than 1,200 teacher applicants have already applied for NASA’s educator astronaut program. The NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Astronaut Selection board will invite a group of finalists from the superior educator candidates to JSC for interviews, and three to six individuals will be selected to become educator astronauts in early 2004.

The Foundation has trained more than 30,000 teachers since 1986 on Teaching With Space through Space Discovery graduate courses and national conferences. All courses and conferences meet state and national educational standards, with optional graduate credit available. The Foundation’s on-site NASA Educator Resource Center helps educators access and use science, mathematics, and technology instruction products aligned with national standards and appropriate state frameworks based on NASA’s unique mission and results. The Foundation also offers two distinct Master’s Degrees with an emphasis in space studies, in conjunction with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Regis University. For more information or to get a complete schedule of upcoming Foundation educational events, visit or call 1-800-691-4000.