Educator of the week

Jalel Ben Hmida 
Lafayette High School

Lafayette Parish School System
Advanced Mathematics and Statistics Teacher

Favorite Subject: Data Analysis

A STEM enthusiast by nature, Mr. Jalel Ben Hmida has been a strong advocate for pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) and stands behind the value gained through a STEM education. Born and raised in his native land of Tunisia, Africa, Mr. Ben was naturally attracted towards the fields of science and mathematics. Growing up, it was the knowledge that was exemplified by his mathematics and physics professors that inspired him to pursue a degree in electrical engineering, which he attained after attending the University of Tunisia.

Although he has a background in engineering, Jalel opted to take a different direction in life which led him towards educating our youth for the past 20 years. When asked why he decided to help mold and develop the minds of the future leaders of tomorrow, he simply stated: "I love the interaction with the students. I love their enthusiasm, their interest, and their curiosity. Teaching keeps me young." Currently, Mr. Ben is a proud Advanced Mathematics and Statistics Teacher at Lafayette High School in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he has been teaching for the past eight years. Simultaneously, he is also pursuing his doctorate degree in systems engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Mr. Ben is also a NASA master teacher and had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop this past summer at NASA's Airborne Research Experience for Educators (AREE) in Palmdale, CA. The AREE project provides educators the opportunity to explore the concepts of scientific practice in a community to better recognize what it means to be a scientist or engineer and to increase the educators understanding in science and mathematics. As a facilitator, he provided an introduction to computer programming to over 25 participating educators, and it is something he plans to continue on his campus. "As a NASA master teacher I always try to translate my experience into classroom practice through the implementation of thematic curriculum based on engineering concepts and research investigation that encourages and interests students in STEM."

Last year, Jalel attended the K-12 Educators Institute™ sponsored by the Shell Oil Company at the 25th Annual HENAAC Conference. While at the HENAAC Conference, Mr. Ben networked with various STEM professionals and was able to secure the first Viva Technology™ program at his high school, also sponsored by the Shell Oil Company. This year, he participated once again in the K-12 Educators Institute™ with his goals set in place: "I want my students to be aware of what STEM careers have to offer for their future…and I want them to have the opportunity to engage in some of the most exciting discoveries and technological innovation."

During his spare time, Mr. Ben loves to travel and is a soccer enthusiast who enjoys playing, watching, and coaching the sport.

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