It is rewarding and humbling to receive this honor. It is rewarding to know others value the teaching of problem solving, collaboration, hands-on learning, and inquiry. Knowing the number of worthy teachers who applied, it is humbling to join such an incredible group of educators. The award recognizes the educator I have become through lessons from family, friends, colleagues, and students. But it also serves as a reminder to always strive to get better, because my students deserve nothing less.
Justin Osterstrom, an educator for 12 years, has been teaching sixth grade science at Martin Gifted and Talented Magnet School for five years. Previously, Justin taught fourth, fifth, and kindergarten through fifth grade STEM at A.B. Combs Leadership Magnet Elementary School.
Justin understands the power of digging into the learning with his students. He focuses on metacognition while enabling students the power to guide, facilitate, collaborate, challenge, and grow in unique ways on a daily basis within the classroom. Justin strives to assess his students in a variety of ways in order to properly engage them in a blend of activities that build a mind and skillset needed to compete in today’s society.
In 2005, Justin was awarded Wake County Public School System’s Beginning Teacher of the Year Award. In 2009, he was awarded a Kenan Fellowship through North Carolina State University. The fellowship was based on increasing problem-solving skills with kindergarten through fifth grade students using engineering. In 2011, he was named North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center’s (SMT) K–8 Outstanding Educator. Justin continues to develop and deliver professional development at the local and state level.
Justin has a B.S. in childhood education from State University of New York at Fredonia. He is a National Board Certified Middle Childhood Generalist.