Sitka Teacher Earns 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching
In December, it was announced that Rebecca Himschoot, elementary science and G/T teacher at Keet Gooshi Heen School, is awarded the highest honor for her teaching. In her words:
“Teachers across the nation are dedicated to opening minds and assisting young people to become successful, lifelong learners, often against significant socioeconomic, cultural, and funding challenges. The Presidential Award is one way of recognizing the amazing work being done in America’s schools. Personally, being nominated for this award by a local scientist was very meaningful to me. The rigorous application process also provided valuable reflection and new insights into my teaching practice.”
Rebecca Himschoot has taught at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School for 9 years, serving for the past 3 years as the Science Specialist for second through fifth grade and as Coordinator for the Gifted Program. Previously, she taught at private schools in Hawaii and Kuwait.
Rebecca utilizes every opportunity to involve students, teachers, and parents in science. She teaches astronomy lessons in a rented Starlab. Working with local organizations and scientists, Rebecca uses Starlab as part of an annual Family Science Night. Families are drawn into the science curriculum further by a parent-led, school-based Stream Team, in which students work with scientists to monitor a nearby stream and create posters to present their findings.
To make science relevant for students in southeast Alaska, Rebecca incubates salmon eggs in a classroom aquarium, and she regularly invites local scientists to visit classes.
Modeling lifelong learning is important to Rebecca. She was selected as a Teacher at Sea by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and has served as a Teacher to Ranger to Teacher in two of Alaska's national parks. She serves as the regional representative for the Alaska Science Teachers Association.
Rebecca has a B.A., cum laude, in elementary education from the University of Alaska Southeast and an M.Ed. from Gonzaga University. She is certified in elementary education.
The awardees include 102 teachers -- representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Department of Defense Education Activity -- as recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. This award is conferred annually to outstanding K-12 math and science teachers from across the country. Winners are selected by a panel of distinguished mathematicians, scientists, and educators, after an initial selection process at the state level…Winners receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation, to be used at their discretion. They are also invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events. Nominations for 2013 (secondary teachers) are closed, but nominations for 2014 (elementary teachers) are open through April 1.
Our Alaska delegation for the awards ceremony included 2012 Awardee for Math, Amy Laufer, Teacher Expert for Anchorage School Districts.