Teaching award

Fulton Learning Center science teacher Martha McLeod, right, receives her award for being named the Shell Science Teacher of the Year from Shell Education Programs Manager Toyin Ope.

The Aransas County Independent School District’s (ACISD) Martha McLeod was recently named the recipient of the Shell Science Teaching Award in June 2020.

A partnership between Shell Oil Company and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) gives a national award annually recognizing one outstanding classroom science teacher (grades K–12) who has had a positive impact on his or her students, school, and the community through exemplary science teaching. The Shell Science Teaching Award grand prize recipient receives $10,000.

The recipient and two finalists receive an all-expense-paid trip to attend the NSTA National Conference on Science Education.

Nominees must be classroom teachers whose responsibilities include teaching science. Nominees must have a minimum of eight years of experience (not including the current school year) as a teacher of science, and must teach in a private or public school in the United States, U.S. Territories, Department of Defense schools, or Canada.

During the 2019-20 awards program, ACISD science teacher Martha McLeod was selected as the top science teacher for the many community outreach programs she sponsors at Fulton Learning Center. These programs include past participation at the local Farmer’s Market, the Aquarium at Rockport Harbor Junior Docent program, the award winning metal recycling program and youth birding programs, HummerBird Celebration garden tours at the school, family science nights, fishing field trips with Texas game wardens and Coastal Conservation Association volunteers, trips to the local waste water treatment facility, and guest presenters that come into the school, including a local eye doctor and an orthopedic surgeon.

McLeod and her students have also created outdoor classrooms on campus where they tend gardens and animals, learning from each experience how science drives their lives.

During the 2020 summer season, McLeod collaborated with Camp Aranzazu staff to help create weekly virtual animal outreach adventures for their campers.

ACISD Education Foundation Executive Director Suzanne Ransleben met with Shell selection judges in February to give input on McLeod’s work as an educator.

“Martha’s unyielding commitment to students, colleagues, and the community distinguish her as a master educator,” said Ransleben. “Her demeanor and strength empower her students to think and learn beyond the limitations of the classroom. She is the epitome of excellence in teaching, setting the standards and precedents that others strive to emulate.”

Upon receiving her award from Shell Education Programs Manager Toyin Ope, McLeod said, “I am incredibly grateful to the many parents, colleagues, and students (both current and former) who took time off from work and school to be interviewed by the Shell selection judges on my behalf. I strive each day to immerse my students in science, helping them to understand, respect, and appreciate the world and their place in it. I want for my students to enjoy and appreciate nature and the outdoors, and realize the great responsibility we have as environmental stewards. Being named the national winner for the Shell Science Teaching Award represents recognition and validation of my work with students. I am truly honored to have been selected for this prestigious award.”

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