Robert Ballard Receives AASA 2012 American Education Award

Contact: Kitty Porterfield,, 703.774.6953

Alexandria, Va., Feb. 13, 2012. Dr. Robert Ballard award-winning oceanographer, marine biologist, explorer, researcher, author and professor will receive the 2012 American Education Award from the American Association of School Administrators. Ballard is Chief Scientist and founder of The JASON Project and explorer-in-residence with the National Geographic Society. He is widely acclaimed for revolutionizing undersea exploration.

Ballard’s work includes the discovery, in 1977, of hot springs, brimming with life, on the seafloor near the Galapagos Islands. This and other discoveries led to the identification of a previously unknown chemical-based food-making process called chemosynthesis and, ultimately, to answers to such questions as “Why is the sea salty?”

Ballard is also renowned for his exploration of shipwrecks. In 1985, using remotely operated submersibles that he had developed—capable of working at expedition sites miles below the surface—Ballard discovered the remains of the RMS Titanic. In addition to the Titanic, his famous shipwreck discoveries include the luxury liner Lusitania, the German battleship Bismarck, the U.S.S. Yorktown, and 11 warships from World War II's lost fleet of Guadalcanal.

To more than 11 million students and educators, Ballard is the founder of The JASON Project, an acclaimed experience-based science program that is increasing student achievement and teacher efficacy everywhere. The JASON Project is an inquiry based curricula that places students in challenging, real-world situations. Designed for and aligned to 4th through 12th grade national and state standards, JASON’s award-winning STEM modules are available free online at

“All kids are born scientists and explorers,” says Ballard. “We just have to find ways to hook them, tap into their innate spirit, and keep them engaged in order to increase their academic proficiency. That’s what The JASON Project is all about.”

Ballard has published more than 60 scientific articles in journals including Science, Nature, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Journal of Geophysical Research, and numerous popular books and articles for the general public.

He has received numerous awards including, more recently, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and the National Endowment for Humanities Award.

The AASA American Education Award, established in 1928, honors an outstanding American citizen who has distinguished herself or himself through excellence in his or her profession, and who serves as a role model and teacher to others. Past honorees include Diane Ravitch, Sandra Day O’Connor, Marian Wright Edelman, Helen Keller, Walt Disney, Walter Cronkite, Margaret Mead, President Lyndon Johnson, Eunice Shriver and Dorothy Height.
Ballard will receive the award at a ceremony on Feb. 19 at the annual AASA National Education Conference being held in Houston, Feb. 16-19, 2012. Ballard is a keynote speaker at the conference.

About AASA
The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. The mission of AASA is to advocate for the highest quality public education for all students, and develop and support school system leaders. For more information, visit Follow AASA on twitter at Become a fan of the AASA Facebook page at
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