When the Wildcats return to Tullahoma High School next fall, there will be a new career and technical education (CTE) course available: Aviation Flight.

School officials announced this spring that the high school will add a three-course program surrounding aerospace and aviation to the CTE programming available for students to take. According to Director of Schools Dr. Catherine Stephens, the new CTE program is the result of a partnership between the school system and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).

The first course will be Introduction to Aerospace, followed by Aviation I: Principles of Flight and concluding with a third course option of either Aviation II: Advanced Flight or Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Stephens said she, THS Principal Jason Quick and THS Assistant Principal and CTE Director Shari Zimmerman met with Karla Smith, the manager of high school aviation initiatives for the AOPA, in setting up the course program.

“This curriculum will be used to ensure the students master the standards for each of the three courses mentioned,” Stephens said.

The first course, Introduction to Aerospace, will be offered next fall for interested students, Stephens said. The more advanced courses will be added in future semesters.

School officials say they hope to make this program the second certified Tennessee Pathway for the high school, following the certification of the THS welding program as a Tennessee Pathway this school year.

Smith, a Tullahoma graduate and resident, as well as a Wildcat parent, said the AOPA has created the free curriculum for schools to implement the program around the country. The curriculum is currently used in more than 280 high schools, as well as five Tennessee high schools.

“We are excited to bring it to Tullahoma,” Smith said. “We want to build the best aviation program in the nation. We’re looking forward at building relationships with the folks at Arnold [Air Force Base] and Jacobs.”

Quick said he was excited to bring the program to the high school, thanking Smith for bringing the curriculum to his attention.

“This is going to be an unbelievable opportunity for our students,” he said. “It’s going to help us be better engaged with our community. I think it’s going to create some opportunities for economic development and help our students bloom where they’re planted.”

Stephens said Smith will be responsible for ensuring that all state-mandated standards are met in the course. Smith said she was confident that would happen quickly, as the AOPA has also worked to implement the curriculum to match other state standards, such as in Kentucky and Virginia.

The school system is currently searching for an instructor to take the reins on the course. According to the job description, the individual must have at least three years’ experience in aviation or aerospace and possess at least one FAA certification in basic or advanced ground instructor, part 107 remote pilot, private pilot or certified flight instructor; or, individuals may possess a degree in aviation/aerospace in lieu of the experience. The selected individual must also obtain a CTE teacher licensure with the state department of education.

“The Aviation/Aerospace instructor will implement the AOPA curriculum and instructional program in a learning environment that guides and encourages students to develop and fulfill their academic potential,” the job goal states.

The full job description is available for viewing at the school district website,