Knowing that all children can be successful young scientists, I have used my passion for science to guide my students to become responsible global citizens who believe that nothing is impossible. This most prestigious honor affirms my philosophy and inspires me to continue encouraging my students to use their natural curiosity to think outside the box, as they will be responsible for developing the innovations, cures, and technological advances that will change the world. 

Janet Acerra Oldsmar, FL | K-6, Science, 2014

An educator for over 30 years, Janet Acerra has spent the last 22 years at Forest Lakes Elementary School teaching self-contained third, fourth, and fifth grade classes. She currently teaches two fifth grade science and mathematics classes and is an adjunct instructor (since 2003) at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg (USF-SP) teaching science and mathematics methods courses to preservice teachers. Known as “The Science Goddess” at her school, Janet is responsible for the implementation of an annual schoolwide STEM project fair and initiated the first “Family STEM Night” to showcase classroom work and engage parents in STEM-based activities with their children. Janet’s honors include the 2000 Outstanding Elementary Science Teacher award from the Florida Association of Science Teachers; 2005 Outstanding Educator in Pinellas County; 2007 Part-Time Teaching Excellence Award from USF-SP, and the 2014 Governor’s Shine Award for STEM Education from the Department of Education. She has received over $23,000 in grants, including a Toyota Tapestry Award. Janet holds a B.S. in elementary education from Long Island University and a M.Ed. from the University of South Florida.  Janet is certified in elementary education with an endorsement in reading and English for Speakers of Other Languages, and is a National Board Certified Middle Childhood Generalist.