Tuesday, February 18, 2014

National Science Teachers Association Awards

Three secondary science teachers in Spring Branch ISD have been named as fellows in the 2013-14 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) New Science Teacher Academy. Forty-nine of the 200 science teachers chosen this year are Texas educators.

Selected as NSTA New Science Teacher Academy Fellows are Sheena Guevara of Northbrook Middle School; Grant Nunneley of Stratford High School; and Kaleb Underwood of Spring Woods High.

SBISD’s teachers were chosen from more than 1,000 teacher applications nationwide. As New Science Teacher Academy Fellows, they will take part in a host of science-related activities and professional learning opportunities designed to promote teaching and instruction, enhance excellence, and improve science content knowledge.

They were selected on the basis of criteria that included strong evidence of a solid science background and deep interest in growing as a professional science educator.

The NSTA is the largest professional group of its kind in the world, representing 55,000 science educators. It promotes excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning. For these awards, NSTA collaborated with The Dow Chemical Co.; Lockheed Martin; as well as the American Honda Foundation and Bayer USA Foundation.

“The National Science Teachers Association congratulates the new science teachers who will join the Academy this year,” said Dr. David Evans, NSTA executive director, in a press release. “The Academy Fellows are making a long-term commitment to give their very best to their students – and to society – as they inspire the scientists and citizens of tomorrow.”

Sheena Guevara 

Sheena Guevara, a native of Stephenville, Texas, attended Tolar ISD schools. After graduating in 2010 from the University of Houston in Victoria, she joined Northbrook Middle as a sixth-grade science teacher. In 2012, she was named to head up the campus Science Department.

Sheena is well known in SBISD after being chosen as a National Teacher Argonaut by The JASON Project to study with Dr. Bob Ballard and two SBISD students aboard the Nautilus sea research vessel in the waters off the coast of Turkey.

Since that 2012 trip, Sheena has helped guide, inform and train district teachers and students in the use of the The JASON Project’s hands-on curriculum. She is also a national trainer for Jason Learning and serves on district textbook adoption and curriculum committees.

“I enjoy getting to know my kids and watching them learn about their world through science,” Sheena says. “Being able to see students get excited about learning and set goals for a successful future encourages me. By seeing their needs, I want to keep learning so I can be the best teacher I can be for them.”

She also said, “I want them to see me excited about learning and continuing my education. If there are ways I can improve my teaching, then I want to find out what they are so I can help my students be successful.”

Sheena is a member of NSTA, the National Earth Science Teachers Association, and the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership organization.

Grant Nunneley 

A Texas A&M University graduate, Grant Nunneley began his teaching career at Sam Houston High School in San Antonio. In his second year of teaching, he joined a small team of teachers at that school who worked together to develop project-based lesson plans and instruction.

At Stratford High, Grant teaches grade-level Physics and Advanced Placement Physics B. He also serves as the sponsor for the school’s popular student robotics club, which is known as SHARC.

“I was very excited to learn that I had been accepted as an NSTA fellow,” he says. “I know that I will soon have access to a large scope of instructional materials and methods that I can use to improve my classroom, and being able to attend the NSTA conference in Boston also sounds like a great opportunity.”

His short-term goals include integrating project-based learning techniques and real world connections into Stratford High classes. Grant is also currently working on student curriculum for a potential future robotics class.

Over the long term, he is interested in pursuing a doctorate focused on the research side of science education or administrative duties leading to a principalship.

Kaleb Underwood 
Kaleb Underwood, a Spring Woods High chemistry teacher, graduated in 2008 from Memorial High School. The May 2012 President’s Honor Roll graduate of Rice University was also a biochemistry teaching assistant leading undergraduate student labs. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in history at Rice.

Kaleb was a 2012 Corps member with Teach for America in Houston. Before joining Spring Woods High, he was a reading teacher at KIPP: Polaris Academy for Boys. At Spring Woods, he has created an online course website, coaches the UIL Science Team, and sponsors Student Council and Class of 2014.

He has high goals for himself and students, and is honored to be recognized as a NSTA fellow. “In the short term, my goal is to ensure my students are successful in chemistry . . . so that they may be prepared to enter the T-2-4 (technical, two- or four-year degree) career of their choosing upon graduation, a goal that I am excited to help them achieve,” he says.

“Professionally, I plan to pursue graduate degrees in curriculum and instruction, educational leadership and public policy. I plan on spending my career working to ensure all students have an excellent education regardless of their background or neighborhood context,” he adds.

Kaleb is undecided about his long-term goals, which may include administration, policy or teaching. 

For a full list of the 2013-14 NSTA Fellows or to learn more about the professional group, please visit www.nsta.org/academy


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