It is an honor to be selected for the Presidential Award from such an extraordinary group of accomplished educators. This award celebrates what I do best – caring for my students and providing them with a learning environment that encourages critical thinking, creativity, and wonder. Receiving this prestigious award also offers me a unique opportunity to expand my role as a teacher leader. In doing so, I will be able to impact student learning far beyond the walls of my own classroom.

Debra Ericksen Bridgewater, NJ | K-6, Science, 2016

Debra Ericksen is in her 10th year as an educator, teaching all subjects of fourth grade at Adamsville Primary School for the past five years. She has experience teaching gifted and talented students, English language learners, and special education students within a co-teaching classroom. Debra is passionate about providing students with opportunities to learn science through interdisciplinary instruction, and has been recognized for her accomplishments through the National Science Teachers Association’s Sylvia Shugrue Award. She is a 2012 graduate of the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy. As a school science coordinator, she has chaired science fairs and partnered with local scientists and engineers to work with students. She is a member of the New Jersey Next Generation Science Standards’ Teacher Leader Cohort, and facilitates science workshops for her district and at New Jersey Science Conventions. Debra’s classroom is a collaborative community of learners who embrace discovery, and persevere through problem solving. She has received several grants providing technology and literacy resources to support student learning. Debra earned a B.A. in political science from Susquehanna University and a M.B.A. in human resources from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is certified in elementary education, middle school English language arts, and middle school social studies.