The Presidential Award serves as recognition for having put into practice the belief that science is education's greatest equalizer. Through science, students of all abilities, backgrounds, and genders can experience the same phenomena and they flourish in this environment. Students think, investigate, and communicate like real scientists. Every scientist in a classroom has a voice and adds to the learning of others. This honor highlights my continued belief in quality science education for all.

Marlys Williamson Chula Vista, CA | K-6, Science, 2020

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Marlys Williamson has been an educator for 14 years in the Chula Vista Elementary School District at Wolf Canyon Elementary School. After teaching third grade for three years, she found her calling teaching fifth grade. As the lead science teacher on the Instructional Leadership Team, she helped to increase schoolwide science achievement. She mentored preservice teachers and was the district's Teacher of the Year in 2020. Marlys’s contributions went beyond her classroom as she coached the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) STEM program and the Science Field Day Team. She brought to life the vision of Wolf Canyon’s makerspace, The Design Den, which provides STEM activities to all grades, and initiated an annual Family Science Night which strengthened the home-to-school connection. To meet the challenge of a year of virtual learning, Marlys continued to provide hands-on science to her students. She assembled science kits where students dissected owl pellets, studied mold terrariums, observed mini-lakes, and investigated chemical reactions. Students actively engaged in authentic learning and collaborative discussions from home. Marlys provided NGSS workshops at the school, district, and county levels. Videos of her lessons are a resource on the San Diego County Office of Education website. She recently accepted a position as Science Coordinator where she will continue to support the district’s 49 schools. Marlys has an A.S. in forensic science from Grossmont Community College; a B.A., magna cum laude, in liberal studies and multiple subject teaching credential from San Diego State University; and an M.A. in science curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington. She also received her GATE certification from the University of California, San Diego.

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