The award citation at the Awards Ceremony reads:
This year’s Senior Division Teacher of the Year Award recipient has inspired students at his school to authentically pursue science. Not a science teacher by training, this educator learns science alongside his students, offering that maybe the thing students appreciate most about their teacher is that their teacher didn’t actually answer any of their questions, but were encouraged to find out more using scientific help and collaboration, even if that led to even more questions. It is this practice that leads the educator to believe that his nomination came from his students recognizing their teacher as a collaborator and a true partner in their learning. This genuine curiosity aligns with our winnerís philosophy of science — inquiry, inquiry, inquiry.
Without a science class of his own, this teacher has dedicated time on Saturdays to run an after school program, which he founded in 2011, that would not compete for students’ interest or time in sports during the week. After many multi-year projects, and learning from students, this underlying emphasis in inquiry has now changed the way this teacher designs his other courses, which includes math and music. Beyond the school grounds, this educator’s involvement in inspiring and encouraging student scientists has become a huge part of his life, often driving hundreds of miles on the weekends to recover equipment students have sent into the atmosphere as a part of their projects. And all of this is 100% voluntary for this educator.
This year’s Science Fair Teacher of the Year plans to continue to build a collaborative community of student scientists, and is aiming to increase involvement of girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, all while developing a new engineering elective for his school.
Please join me in congratulating our Senior Division Teacher of the Year, from Anderson Valley High School in Boonville, Mendocino County — James Snyder!
James Snyder was named as advisor on the following projects this year: S1719.California State Science Fair / 2015 / Science Fair Teacher of the Year — Senior Division / CalifSF@usc.edu