The Presidential Award is the pinnacle of science education in the United States. It honors those who go above and beyond the usual content driven classroom to give students the real experience of science. These educators immerse students in how science works from the perspective of working scientists, helping them connect all disciplines of science and see the relevancy to their lives. Students learn science in a way of understanding the world around them, not just a content area.

Russell Walker Anchorage, AK | 7-12, Science, 2013

Russell “Ben” Walker has taught Gifted and Highly Gifted Seventh Grade Integrated Science at Romig Middle School in Anchorage, AK, for nine years. He has also taught Applied Technology, Lego Robotics, and Media Technology. Ben earned his National Board Certification in 2011 and was part of a teacher-leader team completing the three year Academy Creating Teacher Scientists in Richland, WA, working closely with scientists at Battelle-Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on cutting edge topics such as green buildings, transportation materials, biofuels and hydrogen fuel cells. He completed the National Academy of Curriculum Leadership focusing on science education reform. Ben has taught district-wide classes on science notebook use and worked on district curriculum. He is currently designing a science-based sustainability course. Ben believes all learning should be experiential and relevant. He emphasizes the nature and practice of science as shown in the working world through the extensive use of science notebooks for inquiry and an emphasis on the processes and application of science. Ben graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA, with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He taught English in South America for a year before receiving his master’s degree in teaching at University of Alaska-Anchorage. He has also taught literacy through photography in St. Paul, AK.