As a general rule, I think teachers have a difficult time being in the spotlight, especially when it comes to receiving awards. I was honored to be the guest speaker at the first annual PRISM awards dinner in Orlando, Florida where two Brevard Public Schools teachers earned awards worth $10,000 for excellence in science. The best part of the evening was watching Nancy Rehwoldt, a sixth-grade teacher at Surfside Elementary in Satellite Beach and Guytri Still, a science teacher at McNair Magnet Middle School in Rockledge, earn two of three regional PRISM Outstanding Teacher Awards for excellence as science educators. They each received $2,500 cash and $2,500 in scholarship money to attend science conferences. PRISM, which stands for “Promoting Regional Improvement in Math and Science,” is a 10-year campaign launched in 2006 to achieve world leadership in math and science education.
I had the fortune of meeting Nancy Rehwoldt for the first time in 2006 while presenting several science workshops to teachers in the Brevard Country school district. Nancy teaches from the heart and truly cares about making science come alive for all of her students. But she doesn't stop her teaching in the classroom. What impresses me most about Nancy and so many other teachers in Brevard County is their commitment to teaching teachers and constantly sharing best practices in an effort to make each teacher the best he or she can be. Countless hours (okay… days and weeks) are spent outside the traditional teaching calendar as Nancy and her cadre of teachers produce some of the most innovative science curriculum I've ever seen. Keep your eye on Brevard County as they (as a school district) set the standard for science education training.