I believe the Presidential Award is a tool that highlights the epitome of excellence, acknowledging a teacher that displays their belief, talents, and passion in their personal mission to educate students in the sciences. The symbolism of this award inspires me by providing a testimony that my dedication to my students was noticed. Most importantly, I believe that receiving this award will positively impact my students’ psyche as it reinforces our mantra “follow your passion and doors will open.”

Florentia Spires Washington, DC | 7-12, Science, 2013

Florentia Spires has been an educator for 29 years and is currently a doctoral student at Texas Tech University. Currently, she works as a Master Educator for the District of Columbia Public Schools where she evaluates teacher performance and provides coaching for teachers of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subject areas. Florentia began her teaching career as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana, Africa and served as a teacher trainer for new volunteers. She returned home and taught science in Prince George's County Public Schools in Maryland and Edmund Burke in Washington, DC, for eight years each. Florentia developed and taught a STEM curriculum for the Howard University Middle School in Washington, DC. She also conducted STEM professional development workshops for K-12 teachers. In 2013, Florentia served as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Computer and Network Systems. Florentia received a B.A. and B.S. in biology from Bennett College for women in Greensboro, North Carolina and a M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction in science education from Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. In 2013, she obtained a STEM teaching certification as a NASA Endeavor Fellow with Teachers College, Columbia University. She maintains an advanced teaching certification in science education in the state of Maryland.