The Presidential Award, for me, honors my commitment to create authentic and memorable learning opportunities for my students. Together we ask questions and solve problems to gain understanding of the world around and beyond us, and to become informed thinkers in society. The ultimate satisfaction as an educator is to bear witness to the energy and excitement that consumes the classroom as students are on the brink of discovery and wonderment.

Alyssa Wood Providence, RI | K-6, Science, 2016

Alyssa Wood has taught science at Sophia Academy for eight of her 10 years as a teacher. She teaches fifth through eighth grade at the all-girls middle school, covering life science, earth and space science, physical science, and engineering. During class, Alyssa engages students to make meaningful connections with experiences outside of the classroom. Design challenges facilitated by women engineers as guests in the school prepared students for a visit to the engineers' company where students took the lead in creating functioning chairs made of newspaper and tape. Alyssa has presented at the National Science Teachers Association’s national conference on aligning curriculum to meet Next Generation Science Standards. She served as a mentor to master’s students in Brown University’s elementary education M.A.T program. Alyssa is a member of the education committee at Save The Bay, a local organization that advocates for the protection and improvement of Narragansett Bay. Over the past 10 years she has worked with UPP Arts, an organization that raises awareness around Providence’s largest natural freshwater pond and local watersheds. Alyssa earned a B.A. in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan and a M.A.T. in elementary education from Brown University. She holds a Certificate of Eligibility for Employment in first through sixth grade elementary education.