Connecticut teacher wins Crossfield Aerospace Educator of the Year Award

The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) reports the 2014 A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Educator of the Year Award will be presented to Rachael Manzer, the STEM coach at the Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School in East Hartford, Connecticut.

Manzer will receive the award, including a $5,000 cash stipend, as part of the 52nd Anniversary NAHF Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony held at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton on Saturday, Oct. 4.

Manzer teaches and models inquiry-based science lessons for K-12 classroom and is a “Teachers in Space” Pathfinder Astronaut Candidate, one of seven teachers selected from across the nation to fly on a suborbital space flight under NASA’s Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers program.

The NAHF will provide Manzer and her guest an expenses-paid trip to Dayton where she will be presented her award at the NAHF’s annual black-tie enshrinement gala, widely known as America’s “Oscar Night of Aviation.”

The event also features the formal induction of the six individuals in the NAHF Class of 2014, witnessed by a who’s who of the air and space community including industry leaders and sponsors, former enshrinees, public officials and aviation buffs from across the U.S. Nearly 700 people are expected to attend.

Crossfield Award jury members lauded Manzer’s efforts to promote practical learning, including raising funds and leading her school community through two microgravity experiment design competitions, resulting in an experiment flying on STS-135 – the final flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis and of the U.S. Space Shuttle program. She also led a group of students and families to witness the STS-135 launch. A second student experiment later flew aboard the unmanned SpaceX Dragon on its maiden flight to the International Space Station.

The Crossfield Award is named in honor of its founder, A. Scott Crossfield (1921-2006), who was inducted into the NAHF in 1983 in recognition of his contributions as a naval aviator, aerospace engineer and test pilot. He was the first man to successfully fly at speed above Mach 2 and Mach 3, the first to fly the X-15, and he contributed to the safety of manned spaceflight.

Crossfield had a lifelong respect for the dedicated educators who had helped him along his path. He personally founded the award in 1986 as a tangible way to recognize teachers of today that effectively use aerospace education as a way to foster the development of their young students.

The NAHF is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in Dayton in 1962 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1964. Its mission is to honor America’s outstanding air and space pioneers, which it does through a 17,000-square-foot public Learning Center featuring interactive exhibits, its annual enshrinement ceremony, youth education and other public outreach programs, and collaboration with like-minded organizations.

For more information: or 937-256-0944 ext.10.


  1. Anita Scopino says

    We at Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School are bursting with excitement and pride for our beloved Rachael Manzer on her selection as the Crossfield Aerospace Educator of the Year! Rachael’s energy, enthusiasm, joy and tireless dedication to inquiry-based science are awe-inspiring, and working with her is an honor. We are so thrilled to see her recognized with this well-deserved award. CONGRATULATIONS, RACHAEL!!!!

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