The year 1986 proved to be the dawning of the "The ASTEC Vision.” With no capital and extremely limited funds, Dr. Freda Deskin began the program currently known as the Advanced Science and Technology Education Center (ASTEC), Inc. Dr. Deskin began with a few summer camps while she was a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma. These programs have evolved into year-round, comensive educational entities.
The summer camps began at Oklahoma City University in rented space. After three years, it became a part of the University of Oklahoma's College of Continuing Education under the name Oklahoma Aerospace Academy. Five years after transferring to OU, the program moved back to OCU as the Aerospace Science and Technology Education Department, operating as a strategic business unit responsible for its own funding.
In October, 1999, Dr. Deskin and the ASTEC Advisory Board began the process of becoming a separate entity from Oklahoma City University in order to make application to become a charter school. In March 2000, ASTEC filed with the IRS to become a 501 (c) 3 non-profit educational corporation and formed ASTEC, Inc. On April 1, 2000, ASTEC, Inc. became a separate entity with its own governing board. On April 9, 2000, ASTEC Charter School became the first “start-up” charter school in Oklahoma and was added to ASTEC, Inc. as a division unit.
As a public school teacher, Dr. Deskin had long been concerned with the increasing need to better prepare youth for responsible citizenship and success in the work force of tomorrow. In 1985, Dr. Deskin was selected as a finalist in NASA's "Teacher-in-Space" program. She and her colleagues were given the official title of "Space Ambassadors" and received training at various NASA centers, including the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
After the Challenger accident, "Teacher-in-Space" merged with the National Challenger Center for Space Science Education, a foundation established by the family members of the Challenger crew. NASA and the Challenger Center continue to work closely, providing materials and on-going training for the Space Ambassadors. Dr. Deskin's expertise in curriculum and instruction has been an asset to the Challenger Center as she has served in the capacity of curriculum developer, advisor, consultant and National Faculty member.
Dr. Deskin and her staff continue the dream of Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger crew, developing innovative programs and materials using the themes of science and technology as tools to prepare citizens for the 21st century.
ASTEC Inc. is a Charter School organization
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