Award for Teaching Excellence - 2012

Congratulations to Heather Spotts - Our First Award Winner for Teaching Excellence

At the 2012 PAESTA Conference, we recognized a dedicated Pennsylvania K-12 teacher who has made exemplary contributions to the field of Earth and Space Science education. Congratulations to Heather Spotts, a 6th grade general science teacher from Bellefonte School District, as our first winner of the PAESTA Award for Teacher Excellence!

Heather is in her 8th year teaching 6th grade general science in this rural school district in Centre County. Several years ago, three of the rural districts in central PA partnered together with higher ed faculty from Penn State and Lock Haven to form the "Rural Multidistrict Academic Space Alliance", which has since been renamed the "Academic STEM Alliance" (or ASA).  Heather has been a major partner in the ASA since the beginning, because she is always seeking out opportunities for her students and for herself to enrich their understanding of science.

Heather has also been extremely active in Penn State's Earth and Space Science Partnership and has been serving in the role of a teacher leader during this academic year. Heather has worked to build strong partnerships with her colleagues, and has built the foundation of a professional learning community in her district. She is currently working on a master's degree and feels that her experiences in the partnership, which has included a networking and sharing of ideas with teachers from other districts throughout the state, have strongly influenced her decision to look at how teachers can be agents of change in their districts and how they can be active partners in their own professional development.

For her dedication to the profession of teaching, her leadership in her district, and her efforts to document her work and disseminate it to her fellow professionals throughout PA, we are proud to honor Heather as the first honoree of the PAESTA Award for Teaching Excellence.