Teacher of the Year Award

Karen M. Waterbury

We are pleased to announce that Karen Waterbury has been selected by AAPG as this year’s 2016 Teacher of the Year! She will be invited to attend ceremonies in the AAPG ACE in Calgary this June, where she will receive this award. We are very proud and honored to have such a wonderful science teacher in our section and want to congratulate Karen on her award!

The TOTY award is given annually by the AAPG Foundation and is granted to a K-12 teacher within the United States who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the field of geoscience education.

Teachers can apply directly to their local geological society, or can submit online to the AAPG Foundation. Deadlines for submission are January 15, and Eastern Section’s TOTY committee’s deadline to select a finalist is February 1. The winning finalist for our section receives $1000, and all others who successfully apply receive $100 each. Our Eastern Section nominee then has the opportunity to compete for the national award. Our Eastern Section TOTY Committee consists of Donna Willette (Chair), Dan Billman, Jeffrey Reid and Joan Crockett.

In addition to the Eastern Section, each of the other five sections across the United States (Pacific, Rocky Mountain, Mid-Continent, Southwest, and Gulf Coast) also nominate their finalist for this award. After final nominations are decided, the TOTY Committee convenes to pick the final winner of the Teacher of the Year Award by February 15. The winner is then notified shortly thereafter. In addition to the Award, the winner receives a $3000 personal cash award and a $3000 cash award for the winner’s school, plus an expense paid trip to the next AAPG Annual Meeting to receive the award. The runner-up section finalists each receive an honorable mention and a $500 cash award for their nomination.

In recent years there have now been three Eastern Section finalists who went on to become AAPG’s Teacher of the Year.

  • 2016 – Karen Waterbury, a 4th grade teacher at St. Mary’s School, Mt. Carmel Illinois
  • 2014 – Heather McArdle, a geosciences teacher from Mahopac High School in Ossining, New York
  • 2013 – Chris Bolhuis, a ninth grade earth science teacher at Hudsonville Freshman Campus in Hudsonville, Michigan

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