The Presidential Award is an incredible honor! I am grateful my community released my passion as a science teacher to touch the learning palette of the next generation. I am humbled to be recognized for the fun I have with students on their way to finding truth and discovering what life is all about. It is a validating experience of a “hands-on, minds-on” approach to make a difference in the elementary classroom. The opportunities to be a voice for fellow colleagues is an amazing privilege.

Gary Koppelman Blissfield, MI | K-6, Science, 2014

Gary Koppelman has been teaching for 42 years and is currently at Blissfield Community Schools. He also taught at Deerfield Public School and New Life School. The Blissfield community afforded him the opportunity to follow his science teaching passion, supporting his Blissfield Environmental Life Lab vision. The district has the opportunity to explore the wonders of science through hands-on experiences. Gary believes science is best taught through exploration, observation, and collaboration. Gary is the Blissfield Elementary School Science Curriculum Chair, supporting colleagues and students, resulting in the school being recognized as a School of Excellence. He is part of the Lenawee County Professional Development Center’s K-16+ STEM Pipeline and Southwest Tri-County STEM Committees. Gary is a Science Formative Assessment Committee Team Leader for a neighboring school. He is the director of the Blissfield Outdoor Education Program and has written several volumes of “WOW, Hands-On, Minds-On K–5 Science Activities.” Some of Gary’s recognitions include the 2013 National Shell Science Teaching Award and the 2014 Michigan School Board Association EDEX20 Award. He was a 2014 National Teacher Hall of Fame Inductee and a 2015 Top 50 Global Teacher Finalist. He has a B.S. and master's of elementary education from Eastern Michigan University.