The Presidential Award is an incredible honor and a validation of my beliefs of what science education should be for all students. It is a membership in a special group of teachers. Having collaborated with many recipients of this award, I am aware of the responsibilities ahead of me. Even more than before, I must work hard for the improvement of science education and inspire new science teachers and my students to be the best that they can be and lifelong learners of science.
Mary Legoria, an educator for 26 years, has been the science specialist at Westdale Heights Academic Magnet School for the past 11 years. In this position, she conducts science labs for kindergarten through fifth graders. Previously, Mary taught gifted mathematics, science, and social studies classes.
Mary instills a love for science in her students through exciting science labs that incorporate the practices of scientists and engineers. Her students see themselves as real scientists through their involvement with a wildlife rehabilitator and citizen science projects (e.g., Monarch Watch, Coastal Roots). School gardens are integral to her science instruction, with students practicing organic and sustainable gardening methods while growing and eating fresh produce.
Under Mary’s leadership, her school received the 2010 Intel Elementary School of Distinction Award in Science. Mary’s awards include the 2013–2014 Louisiana Outstanding Science Teacher of the Year. Mary researches science learning in children’s gardens across the country and has presented this research and exemplary teaching methods at state and national conferences, including the American Horticulture Society Children and Youth Garden Symposia.
Mary has a B.S. in agriculture, a B.S. and a M.A. in elementary education, and an Ed.S. and Ph.D. in science education from Louisiana State University.