Thirteen teachers and staff from Ottawa Hills Local Schools have received The Governor’s Thomas Edison Award. Ottawa Hills was the only district in northwest Ohio selected for the honor.
The annual award recognizes excellence in STEM education and student research during the prior school year. The Ohio Academy of Science, which runs the program, recognized 54 school districts and 556 teachers statewide.
“This is a tremendous honor and recognizes the daily commitment made by these teachers and staff to our students,” said Ben McMurray, principal of Ottawa Hills Junior/Senior High School. “Their dedication to science and student development goes beyond the classroom and helps define the high science standards we have as a district.”
Teachers and staff at Ottawa Hills Junior/Senior High School have now received this award seven times in the past eight years. Receiving the award for 2018-2019 are:
- B. Tim Adkins, math and science teacher
- Gerry Davis, STEM teacher
- Patty Dowd, STEM teacher
- Diane Drabek, math teacher
- Dan Feuerstein, math teacher
- Paul Genzman, math and science teacher
- Mary Kate Hafemann, science teacher
- Joan Keckler, math teacher
- Michael Leeds, instrumental music director
- Jeremy Nixon, science teacher
- Nicole Silvers, science teacher
- Brooks Spiess, technology coordinator
- Anthony Torio, math teacher
“We are so proud of these dedicated teachers and staff. Being honored with this award truly highlights how hard they work to make our students – and their STEM education – their top priority,” said Dr. Adam Fineske, superintendent of Ottawa Hills Local Schools. “They are great role models not only for their professions, but our students.”
Each school receives a special Governor’s Award certificate; each teacher receives a complimentary membership to The Ohio Academy of Science.
The criteria for The Governor’s Thomas Edison Awards for Excellence in STEM Education and Student Research are: (1) to conduct a local science fair with 12 or more students, (2) qualify two or more of these students for one of the Academy’s 17 district science days, (3) have students participate in at least one or more youth science opportunities beyond the classroom such as State Science Day, Buckeye Science & Engineering Fair, Science Olympiad, B-Wiser, visits to museums, mentorship programs, and extended field trips and other structured STEM-related youth activities, (4) and to convince external STEM professionals how and to what extent the school’s program met the Academy’s definition of STEM education.
The Ohio Academy of Science defines STEM education as both the mastery and integration of science technology, engineering, and mathematics for all PK-12 students. It incorporates scientific inquiry and technological design through student-focused, project-based curricula to develop skills of communication, teamwork/collaboration, creativity/innovation, critical thinking and problem solving.
Established in 1985, The Governor’s Thomas Edison Awards recognizes Ohio schools and teachers who stimulate scientific student research and technological design and extend opportunities beyond traditional classroom activities.
“These schools and teachers know that only teaching STEM from a textbook is not an option,” said Michael E. Woytek, the Academy’s executive director. “Each of the awardees provides opportunities and experiences for hands-on learning and they clearly value inquiry-based, scientific research.”
More about The Ohio Academy of Science: