A familiar face at Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters, Shayla Broadway Freeman, is now Civil Air Patrol’s director of aerospace education. 

“We’re all excited that Dr. Freeman has accepted and look forward to seeing her passion and drive for aerospace education continue to grow,” said John W. Desmarais, Sr., CAP’s chief operating officer. 

Freeman, who holds a doctorate in rural education/organizational change and leadership, has been at National Headquarters since 2018 and has been a CAP member since 2015. 

During her time in CAP’s aerospace education program, she has taken on many roles, including co-manager of AE’s highly successful STEM Kit program, which focuses, as its name implies, on the education fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

The STEM Kit program offers more than 20 kits associated with aviation, space, and cyber, including kits such as astronomy, flight simulators, model and remote-controlled aircraft, robotics, rocketry, weather, hydraulic engineering, and computer programming. 

Freeman has also been the AE program’s lead on updating, revising, and creating new national academic standards-based aerospace/STEM curricula, which annually impact more than 600,000 K-12 students nationwide. 
She has served as interim director of AE for the past six months, since the retirement of the previous director, Jeff Montgomery, and was chosen recently to fill the national post permanently. 

“I am thankful for this opportunity to serve and excited about what the future will bring for AE. I am committed to empowering others through aerospace and STEM education,” Freeman said. 

“My ultimate goal is to make a positive impact on the lives of CAP youth and adult members as well as the general public, opening doors to exciting opportunities in the world of aerospace and STEM.” 

Freeman is a STEM-certified educator through the National Institute for STEM Education. 

Before joining CAP, she was a classroom educator and CAP aerospace education member with several years of experience in the Elmore County, Alabama, public school system. 

She’s also a former Department of Defense STARBASE STEM teacher at STARBASE Maxwell, a STEM-based youth program that focuses primarily on fifth-graders, particularly in underserved and historically underrepresented areas. STARBASE Maxwell incorporates various hands-on STEM activities to engage and inspire students to pursue future STEM careers. 

Freeman was selected as Teacher of the Year at Holtville Middle School and Wetumpka Middle School in 2014 and 2017, respectively, and the Air and Space Forces Association, Montgomery Chapter, Teacher of the Year in 2016. She has also presented numerous STEM sessions at National Aerospace Education Officer School, CAP’s National Conference, Space Exploration Educators Conference, and Space Port Area Conference for Educators.