Salina Science Teacher Honored

A Salina teacher is among a group of five from across the state being honored as science teachers of the year.  Kansas State University is recognizing five outstanding Kansas high school science teachers with the inaugural Kansas State University High School Science Teacher of the Year Awards.

According to K-State, the awards highlight and reward inspirational and impactful high school science teachers throughout the state. The chemistrygeology and physics departments in K-State’s College of Arts and Sciences selected the five award recipients.

According to Pamela Kempton, professor and head of geology, students majoring in chemistry, geology or physics were asked to name the science teachers who inspired them to study science or made a difference in their growth and development. The nominees were then invited to apply, and a committee selected the finalists.

The following high school teachers are recipients of the Kansas State University High School Science Teacher of the Year Awards:

• Science Teacher of the Year in chemistry: Nikki Chamberlain, gifted facilitator and former longtime chemistry teacher at Salina South High School, Salina.
• Science Teachers of the Year in geology: Staci Cavanaugh, earth and space science teacher at Olathe North High School, Olathe, and Mariah Ramos, integrated science teacher at Spring Hill High School, Spring Hill.
• Science Teachers of the Year in physics: Drew Smith, a physics teacher at Olathe Northwest High School, Olathe, and Mitchell Spade, a physics teacher at Shawnee Heights High School, Tecumseh.

“High school teachers scarcely get the recognition they deserve, and the work they do is critically important to the state and to the educational and scholarly mission of Kansas State University,” said Christer Aakeröy, university distinguished professor and head of chemistry.

The award recipients, their nominators and a few of their current students are invited to a recognition luncheon March 31 on the Manhattan campus. Each teacher will be presented a $500 cash award, a certificate and an artistic piece of glassware custom-made by the university’s scientific glassblower, Jim Hodgson. The visitors will also get a personalized tour of the campus, including some laboratories.

“The past few years have been particularly challenging for our high school educators,” said Tim Bolton, William and Joan Porter professor and head of physics. “So, we wanted to acknowledge their hard work and recognize those extraordinary high school teachers who inspire students to go into sciences.”

The College of Arts and Sciences at K-State offers undergraduate and graduate degrees spanning the natural and quantitative sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and arts and humanities, along with research opportunities, hands-on experiences and robust advising to prepare students for successful careers. 

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