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Dunnellon Middle School Teacher Selected
for NASA's Educator Astronaut Program

Joe Acaba

Joe Acaba, a seventh grade science teacher at Dunnellon Middle School, is one of three teachers nationwide named to NASA's Astronaut Class of 2004. The announcement, part of NASA's Space Day festivities from Washington, DC, was beamed live via satellite to the school. Students erupted into applause when they saw Acaba on screen, and the spectacular school celebration was complete with cake for over 1,000 guests following the live telecast in the school gymnasium.

Dunnellon Middle School students celebrate the announcement of their science teacher, Joe Acaba, as one of the next teachers in space.

As part of the next generation of space explorers, 36-year-old Acaba recently spent time in Houston and our nation's capital as part of the Space Day Program at the National Air and Space Museum. He started with Marion County Public Schools four years ago as a seventh grade math teacher at Dunnellon Middle School and has been there since. He moved to Marion County from Melbourne High School in Brevard County. His B.S. degree in Geology comes from the University of California, while his M.S. in Geology comes from the University of Arizona. Prior to teaching, Acaba served two years in the U.S. Peace Corps as an environmental awareness promoter teaching in public schools. He was also a hydrogeologist and manager of a marine research company.

In a video created for his students, Acaba encourages them to reach for the stars because big dreams really do come true.

The national announcement was part of the Space Day Program at the National Air and Space Museum annex.

For more information on Dunnellon Middle School, visit Profiles of the new astronauts are available at