A U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School instructor says she was “initially shocked and in disbelief” May 12 after learning she had been named Training and Doctrine Command’s Instructor of the Year in the Warrant Officer category.
“I was notified today, just a few hours ago, actually,” Chief Warrant Officer 2 Heather Hubbard said, adding that she was inspired by the students she teaches as an instructor writer and small-group leader for CBRN Officer Professional Military Education.
“I have learned so much from my students and really enjoyed the experience, so to also be the recipient of this award is just phenomenal,” she said.
Not long ago, Hubbard competed for and won the title of USACBRNS Instructor of the Quarter, then advanced to become the USACBRNS Instructor of the Year before moving on to the final, TRADOC-level competition.
Hubbard expressed her appreciation for the school and its support through the TRADOC competition process.
“I was initially nominated by my supervisors and chain of command to be assessed by Charles McEachern — he watched me teach, provided feedback and generally helped me find ways of engaging students more effectively,” she said.
Hubbard also credited Alecia Stockdale in the USACBRNS Directorate of Training and Leader Development office for being “critical in every step” of putting together her nomination packet, which included a photo, written nominations, a supervisor’s narrative, two essays and a video illustrating her instruction style.
“This is really a testament to (Stockdale’s) dedication in getting me to this point,” Hubbard said.
When asked what factors she felt put her nomination over the top, Hubbard said it was likely the video, which depicted her using hands-on demonstrations while teaching chemistry in the CBRN Warrant Officers Basic Course.
“It is an admittedly difficult and boring subject, (but) I did my best to make it an active learning experience through (physical exercises) within the limits of the course risk assessment and discussions,” she said.
During her time teaching, Hubbard said she has tried to leverage the fact that students can often learn key concepts by working and talking through problems themselves.
“Not everyone learns, interprets or internalizes things the same way,” she said. “Another person could say the same thing I have said, just in a different way, and for whatever reason, that clicks with someone that would have otherwise been lost. I do a lot of facilitated discussions and problem-solving. CBRN warrant officers, in particular, have a vast array of experiences to draw from, and, if given the basic information and a structured dialogue, I have seen them come to impressive conclusions and even taken notes on (their own) discussions on many occasions.”
Originally from San Jose, California, Hubbard joined the Army in 2003, undergoing her One Station Unit Training here, becoming what was then called a 54B CBRN specialist, which later became a 74D. Ten years later, she decided to become a warrant officer.
“It was a challenging opportunity that piqued my curiosity,” she said. “The CBRN Corps hasn’t had warrants very long, and I saw the camaraderie and support that came with being a warrant officer. The potential to be in on something exciting and new was an avenue I had to pursue.”
In a memorandum dated May 8, David Paschal, TRADOC assistant deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7, congratulated Hubbard and the six other TRADOC instructors who won in their individual categories.
“Each instructor demonstrated a keen understanding of the Army Learning Concept, Multi-Domain Operations, and possessed superior ability and adaptability,” Paschal wrote. “Their professionalism as instructors, facilitators, leaders and mentors ensure the Army’s preparedness for future challenges.”
Other 2020 winners by category included:
— Officer: Maj. Adelton Ferreira Dias, Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, Fort Benning, Georgia;
— Noncommissioned Officer: Sgt. 1st Class Heather Rankin, U.S. Army Recruiting and Retention College, Fort Knox, Kentucky;
— Civilian: Robert Preshong, U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, Fort Sam Houston, Texas;
— Army National Guard: Sgt. 1st Class James Coppenger, 240th Regiment, Reginal Training Institute, Bangor, Maine;
— U.S. Army Reserve: Master Sgt. Ericka Tew, 80th Training Command (The Army System School), North Chesterfield, Virginia;
— Educator of the Year: Dr. Lawrence Wilson, U.S. Army Management Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Each of the winners is scheduled to receive a commander’s four-star note, a certificate of achievement and a plaque at an awards ceremony in August at the TRADOC Commanders Forum.