I hope to use this award as a key to unlock opportunities to collaborate with other innovative, passionate teachers across the country. Role models have shown me the power to help others, and this award will allow me to better serve my students, school, and community. The award also gives me the chance to more effectively drive innovation and improvement in education.

Justin Leflar Fayetteville, AR | K-6, Science, 2016

Justin Leflar has been an educator for 10 years. He has served Holt Middle School for eight years teaching, among other classes, sixth grade science and accelerated mathematics, preceded by two years serving as a mathematics teacher at the Boston Mountain Educational Cooperative’s Alternative School. In Justin’s classes, students cultivate concrete, useful understandings of abstract concepts and ideas. For example, he introduces variables in algebraic systems by helping students analyze mountain bikes and develop an equation to predict the “roll out” of a bicycle in different gear combinations. The hallmark of his class is an emphasis on deeper understanding through application of abstract concepts to relevant situations. At conferences for alternative educators, environmental educators, and local symposiums, Justin has presented professional development focused on identifying an individual teacher’s passions and unique areas of expertise to serve as a basis for developing lessons that will inspire their students. Justin earned his B.A. in international relations and middle eastern studies from the University of Arkansas. He earned his teaching credentials from the Arkansas Non-Traditional Licensure Teaching Certification Program, and holds certification as a middle school generalist for fifth through eighth grade.