Receiving the Presidential Award is more than just a honor to me. It is validation that teachers from small, rural high schools are able to be leaders in science education in this country. I feel very fortunate to be recognized for my ability to teach science, but I would not have received this recognition without the support of my colleagues and administration. I am blessed to work with students who aspire to move beyond our little town into the challenges of 21st-century learning.

Sharron Prairie Williamstown, VT | 7-12, Science, 2017

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Sharron Prairie has been an educator since 2000, spending the last ten years teaching the physical sciences at Williamstown Middle High School. She currently teaches Introduction to Chemistry, General Chemistry, Conceptual Physics, and Honors Physics to students in grades 9-12. Previously, she taught at La Plata High School in Maryland. Sharron strives to incorporate open-ended problems into her science lessons to prompt students toward figuring out new ideas. During one engineering lesson, students pleaded to know the "correct answer" to the design problem and were astonished when she informed them that there were many "correct" answers. Sharron's teaching activities routinely go beyond the student school day and year, and include her work as an instructor for her fellow science teachers. Since 2013, she has been a teacher-partner for the Norwich STEM Institute in Northfield, Vermont and a facilitator for the Next Generation Science Exemplar system. Sharron also serves teachers as the mentoring coordinator for Central Vermont Supervisory Union and on her local association's negotiations team. Sharron earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University, and a M.S. in curriculum and instruction from McDaniel College. She is certified in 7-12 science, chemistry, and physics.