The Temple Education Foundation announces the 2021 Distinguished Alumni honorees: Earl Nottingham and Amanda Coots

The Temple Education Foundation (TEF) is proud to honor Earl Nottingham (class of 1972) and Amanda Coots (class of 2001). These two individuals are being recognized for their distinct career paths that took them to exciting vocations around the state of Texas and beyond.

A 1972 Temple High School graduate, Earl Nottingham is considered one of Texas’ preeminent photographers. He attended the Art Institute of Atlanta and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Photography from East Texas State University. After owning a successful freelance business for several years, he took over as chief photographer for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1996, where he served for 25 years, retiring in 2021. His assignments for TPWD and its magazine took him to every corner of the state, documenting its landscape, people and historical treasures. Earl continues shooting professional assignments, teaching workshops and public speaking. “Wild Focus: Twenty-Five Years of Texas Parks & Wildlife Photography,” a book of Nottingham’s work can be pre-ordered through Texas A&M University Press and Amazon.

When astronauts say “Houston, we have a problem,” it is Amanda Coots who answers the call! In her position with NASA, Amanda serves as a flight controller and instructor for the International Space Station (ISS). Her team plans, trains, and assists flying operations for the ISS, Orion, manned commercial vehicles and Lunar Gateway. After graduating in the Top 5 students of her class at THS in 2001, Amanda went on to earn both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Texas A&M University. In the fall of her junior year, Amanda began working with NASA as a co-operative education student, alternating semesters at NASA and semesters at Texas A&M. In 2007, she began working full-time for NASA. Amanda also sits on the Board of Texas Odyssey, which oversees Odyssey of the Mind, a creative problem-solving competition for students K-12 through college.

This year’s Distinguished Alumni event will be a special evening celebrating these individual’s accomplishment and learning about their unique careers. Though decades apart from one another, TEF is thrilled to celebrate the foundation that was built for each of the honorees while they attended Temple schools. We hope members of the community will join us to honor these unique Temple High alums. Individual tickets may be purchased by calling the TEF office at (254) 215-6125 or online at

In conjunction with the Event, TEF will be hosting a virtual auction. Families at home and those attending the dinner will be able to bid on great items such as a braces package from Smile at the World Orthodontics, original framed photograph by Earl Nottingham, family passes to the Longhorn Caverns, and exciting destination trips! The Distinguished Alumni Event benefits the Temple Education Foundation, which provides innovative teaching grants and student scholarships for the Temple Independent School District. In the previous five years, the Distinguished Alumni Event has raised $650,000 to impact Temple schools.