The lead instructor of one of southwest Ohio’s most innovative cyber security training programs for high school students now garnered national acclaim as co-winner of a prestigious U.S. Department of Education award.
Lakota Schools’ Cyber Academy teacher Ben Dougherty was recently named one of two recipients of the 2022 Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award (PCE) from the federal education agency, according to Lakota officials.
In announcing the award, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, described Dougherty as one of “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.”
“Educators and instructors nationwide can look to Mr. Dougherty … as a glowing example 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,” said Cardona.
Dougherty joins Robert Stubblefield, Jr., of Troy High School in Fullerton, California in winning the honor.
And it’s not the first national recognition for Dougherty.
Earlier this year, he was honored with the inaugural Educator Award from Cyber.org for his work in launching the Lakota Cyber Academy at both East and West high schools.
The academy program, which opened in 2019, is one of only two among southwest Ohio public school districts.
The academy’s major business partner is international IT corporation Belcan, which is based in Hamilton County’s city of Blue Ash.
With starting salaries as high as $60,000, those trained and possessing varying levels of professional certification can start their young adult lives with job security and high ceiling for advancement.
Industry experts report there are more than 3 million jobs in cyber security going unfilled.
Matt Miller, superintendent of the 17,200-student district, said “we are incredibly proud of Ben and the impact he is having on our students.”
“Ben has played an integral role in not only the launch, but the continued success of the Lakota Cyber Academy. His students benefit from his dedication every day,” said Miller.
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