Alumna receives national biology teacher award

January 4, 2013

Courtesy photo.

Mentor teacher and College of Education alumna Heather Peterson has received the 2012 National Outstanding Biology Teacher Award.

Peterson was presented the award on Nov. 3 by the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT). The award was given to her by NABT President Donald French and President-Elect Mark Little at the association’s recent professional development conference in Dallas.

“We don’t get a lot of recognition in teaching, so it feels nice to have the recognition from peers and professors,” said Peterson. “We’ve also had a supportive school and community — our doors are always open.”

Heading into her 21st year of teaching, Peterson is a biology teacher at Holt High School and has served as a mentor teacher to dozens of teacher candidates and interns. This year, she is working with four MSU seniors.

“[Peterson] is a wonderful mentor, and a great example of professional growth,” said associate professor of teacher education Gail Richmond. “She advocates for ambitious pedagogy and models what she teaches. She is a significant force at Holt and she shares her knowledge not just within but outside the classroom – I feel very fortunate to know her.”

Peterson is also head coach of the Holt Science Olympiad team. She is the science department chair and participates regularly on numerous panels and committees related to the field of biology. In addition to biology, Peterson also teaches human physiology and botany.

Every year, the NABT recognizes outstanding biology educators in all 50 states, who teach grades 7 through 12. Candidates are judged on their teaching ability and experience, cooperativeness in the school and community, inventiveness, initiative and student-teacher relationships.