The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning, has announced the recipients of its 2017 Teacher Awards. Every year NSTA recognizes extraordinary K–12 teachers, professors, principals, and science educators for their outstanding achievements in science education.
Jerry Valadez, president of the Community Science Workshop Network and founder and CEO of the Sanger SAM Academy and the Mobile Science Workshop in Fresno, California, was awarded the Distinguished Informal Science Education Award. This award, which is partially sponsored by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP), honors NSTA members who teach science in an informal setting (i.e., museum, science-technology center, or community science center) and who have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of science education in an informal or nontraditional school setting. Valadez received his award at a special banquet and ceremony at NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles.
Experienced classroom teacher, K–12 science coordinator, after-school administrator, and more, Valadez understands the ecosystem of education and youth development. For more than three decades he directed the Central Valley Science Project, a network of science faculty and teachers; lead NSF-supported urban STEM initiatives; and worked with informal STEM concepts that combined academic enrichment with career awareness through STEM institutes for K–12 students in partnership with Fresno State Engineering. His expertise has led to several appointments on commissions and national advisory boards.
James E. Marshall, Dean, Research and Graduate Studies California State University Fresno, said that Valadez’s “various leadership roles have brought the University and Central Valley considerable notoriety as a locus of formal and informal science education reform. He is a true leader in science education and the students and teachers of the Central Valley are better off because of his efforts.”
The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence in science teaching and learning, preschool through college. NSTA’s membership includes approximately 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business representatives, and others involved in science education.