The Presidential Award is a humbling honor. Our nation is filled with educators who pour their energy into students and our challenging, edifying profession. This recognition of my teaching inspires me to remain malleable and educate with energy and distinction. Effective teaching offers local and global connections, respect, and compassion. This award is the manifestation of my students' creative energy, the combined efforts of my colleagues, and the support of my family.
Lisa Houdek is in her 15th year teaching science at Central Senior High School in St. Paul. She teaches a standard level and a co-taught Special Education Physical Science for freshmen and Advanced Placement Environmental Science for upperclassmen.
Lisa leads her classroom using real-world science applications, enriching activities within and outside the classroom. She emphasizes global awareness and cross disciplinary applications in her culturally and academically diverse urban student population. Peer collaboration, respect, and cultural expression underpin her classroom climate.
Within the district, Lisa has led professional development sequencing, aligned district and state standards, created Level 1 science curriculum for English Language Learners, mentored incoming teachers, and developed annual safety training. She represents her department as a District Science Lead, serves as a Faculty Delegate for the National Honor Society, leads her Professional Learning Community, and is Faculty Advisor to a student environmental group recently honored by Mayor Coleman. She was a coordinator for the Minnesota State Science Teacher’s conference.
Lisa earned a B.S. in environmental science from Northern Illinois University and a M.A. in education from College of St. Catherine. Her licensure includes 9–12 life science and 5th through 8th grade science.