The Presidential Award is a tremendous national honor! Today, it acknowledges educators who are developing critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills through STEM to prepare students for their future in a technology rich world. As a STEM educator, it's been my goal to engage my multicultural classroom with hands-on projects and diverse role models so students can see their future in STEM. Representing Delaware with a Delawarean as President makes this recognition extra special!

Leona Williams Wilmington, DE | K-6, Science, 2020

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

Leona Williams entered school as a Parent Teacher Association mom supporting science education and has inspired students for over 14 years since. She taught at Claymont Elementary School as a fourth grade teacher for two years. She has now been a fourth and fifth grade teacher at Forwood Elementary School for 12 years. A Next Generation Science Lead Teacher, Leona piloted NGSS-aligned science kits and enriched learning experiences with STEM in her multicultural fourth grade classroom including English Language Learners. She incorporates diverse role models from Skype a Scientist and in-person engineer and engineering student visits with hands-on experiences that support STEM equity so all students can see futures in STEM careers. Through Forwood’s Family STEAM Night, Leona engaged kindergarten to fifth grade students in toothbrush-based robot design and VEX Robotics while providing a forum for high school engineering students to share their community-based STEM projects. Inspired students and parents learned about the STEM education path in her district. She encouraged schoolwide participation in STEM through monthly activities culminating in the annual Science Fair with STEM challenges. When buildings closed due to the pandemic, Leona continued to extend science education using STEM via Zoom! Students investigated sound waves, created musical instruments from recyclables, then met the female marine biologist who helped Disney animators create realistic waves for the movie Moana. Leona was recognized by the Delaware STEM Council as their 2020 Elementary STEM Educator Award winner. She earned a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Delaware and an M.Ed. from Wilmington University. She is dual certified as an elementary educator and in K-12 Special Education.

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