What an honor to receive the Presidential Award and join a cadre of educators passionate about teaching and learning! I am grateful to be an educator: it is a privilege to recognize and value the unique talents of my students and instill within them a passion for learning. I have aspired to become a teacher of excellence since beginning my career. My students and colleagues inspire me daily to reach and grow. This prestigious award does the same.

Zerrin Oelze Wichita, KS | K-6, Science, 2020

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

Zerrin Oelze has been an educator for 20 years. She has taught science at McLean Science and Technology Magnet Elementary for the past 17 years. Prior to this, she taught at Earhart Environmental Magnet Elementary for three years. As a full-time science specialist, Zerrin brings her passion for learning to every kindergarten through fifth grade student. She feels privileged to build connections with students and their families during their six years under her tutelage. Students collaborate on and engage in hands-on learning in the science lab whether dissecting squid, analyzing data from a Measure Hunt, creating their own avatar life cycle, or designing and building bridges. Zerrin incorporates place-based science in an Outdoor Wildlife Learning Site (OWLS) as well as with an indoor honeybee hive in the science lab. She coordinates schoolwide science events each quarter, a yearly STEM Night for families, and leads monthly, family workdays in the OWLS. She chairs the Science Committee and serves on the building Leadership Team. Zerrin participated in the 2021 Kansas Assessment Program External Review for the state science assessment and has served on several district-level science committees including the Elementary Science Curriculum Alignment Team. Zerrin earned a B.S., cum laude, in speech communications from Grace College; a B.A., magna cum laude, in education from Wichita State University; and an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction with a Sally Ride Science teaching concentration from American College of Education. She is certified in kindergarten through ninth grade education.

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