Germantown, Tennessee--October 8, 2019--Outstanding Earth Science Teacher (OEST) awards are given for "exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the Earth Sciences at the pre-college level."
Ten national finalists are selected, one from each NAGT regional section. Germantown Municipal School and Houston Middle School are proud to celebrate one of their own—eighth grade science teacher Andrea Starks as this year’s recipient from the Southwest Region.
Andrea Starks just completed her 11th year of teaching. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee Martin with a major in secondary English education. After several years of teaching middle grades ELA, she was assigned a 6th grade science course that she "was dreading, but ultimately so thankful for because it changed my life." Since then, her desire for learning all things science has been insatiable.
Valuing professional growth opportunities, Andrea seeks to learn from fellow educators and experts whenever possible. She was recently chosen to participate in the highly-selective FDA's Science and Our Food program in Washington, D.C. Andrea has also served as a presenter at several prestigious state and national conferences including the TSTA Annual Conference and twice at the NSTA National Conference.
Andrea's teaching philosophy centers around the idea that science truly is an experience, and all students should have the full experience. She strives to make her class interactive and meaningful for all demographics of students. She meets them at their individual learning level, then challenges them. Having felt lost as a student in science class, Andrea actively works to show all students, especially females, that they can be successful in and enjoy science. Incorporating technology and hands-on activities are essential elements routinely used in her classroom to help students grow academically, emotionally, and socially. The ultimate goal is to help them be the best versions of themselves and well-rounded citizens of the world.
Andrea currently teaches 8th grade General Science and a food science themed enrichment course at Houston Middle School in Germantown, TN. She is active in her school community and serves as the sponsor for the boys basketball team. Many students fondly refer to her as "Mama Starks." Witnessing the success of her students confirms for Ms. Starks that she has found her calling.