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Tom Kelly

From mobile planetariums to nature hikes to in-classroom reptile displays, Tom Kelly knows how to have fun. When he calls a student at home, who has achieved the title of “super scientist,” it’s a big deal. Each and every day, Tom Kelly, who is a science specialist for Grandville Public Schools in Grandville, Mich., takes learning to a new level.

Mr. Kelly is a 1987 College of Education graduate, receiving his master’s in science education. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University. Since 1985, he has been teaching a science lab class for first- through fifth-graders.

Parents and colleagues appreciate Mr. Kelly’s gift of balancing professionalism and fun. And his inspiring nature, coupled with his enthusiasm for learning, sets him apart from the rest. A natural leader, Mr. Kelly has taught a summer science program for first- through sixth-graders and for the past five years he has organized the annual “Bike Trip to the Zoo.”

Mr. Kelly always goes and above and beyond what is expected. For example, he is the past vice president of the Michigan Science Teachers Association and he sits on the John Ball Zoo Teacher Advisory Board.

Equally as passionate about improving education, Mr. Kelly has mentored other science educators through his involvement as a national trainer for Activities Integrating Math and Science (AIMS). He is actively involved with Grand Valley State University’s (GVSU) science education program, where more than 500 teacher education students have observed his teaching. At GVSU, Mr. Kelly served as a biology instructor and research associate for a National Science Foundation initiative to improve science education.

Within the community, Mr. Kelly is a much-loved educator. He teaches survival and treasure hunting summer courses through the community education program. Since 1997, Mr. Kelly has been the DataStreme local instructional leader, teaching 12-week graduate courses sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Meteorological Society. And he is a former member of the American Meteorological Society’s Board of Directors.

Because of Mr. Kelly’ long standing commitment to science education, in 1992 he received the national Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching. And in 1987, Grandville Public Schools named Mr. Kelly its Teacher of the Year.

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