The Presidential Award recognizes mathematics and science educators with dynamic learning approaches and student-centered pedagogy. This award highlights my passion to help the youngest learners develop a sense of wonder, a sense of responsibility, and a sense of empowerment through scientific inquiry. I share this honor with my family, my school community, and my inspiring colleagues. It is a celebration of amazing collaboration and achievement in a time with many challenges.

Susan Koch Montpelier, VT | K-6, Science, 2020

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

Susan Koch has taught first grade and kindergarten at Union Elementary School for 13 years. The previous 16 years were spent teaching at Barre Town Middle and Elementary School. She taught at Ferrisburgh Central School for one year, and at Bren Mar Park Elementary School for her first year of teaching. Susan’s love of science has permeated her teaching career and guided her constructivist approach with learners. She has partnered with the North Branch Nature Center to develop and adapt the ECO (Educating Children Outdoors) program. By incorporating nature as a teaching partner, Susan offers learners an engaging, outdoor learning experience with an inquiry focus and a standards-based foundation. Susan is the 2016 Vermont State Teacher of the Year. Susan has attended NASA’s International Space Camp; traveled to Arctic Svalbard as a Grosvenor Teaching Fellow with National Geographic/Lindblad Expeditions; and returned to share these experiences with her learning community, develop learning connections, and encourage earth stewardship. Susan enjoys presenting at conferences and workshops to encourage educators to consider incorporating place-based learning and STEM opportunities in their early childhood and primary grade elementary classrooms. Additionally, she has co-taught at the ECO Institute sponsored by Castleton University. Susan has a B.A. in elementary education from George Washington University and an M.Ed. in education from Southern New Hampshire University. She is certified to teach kindergarten to sixth grade.

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