The Presidential Award is a honor I am proud to share with my students, my school, and my community. It is a celebration of all the people who have challenged and inspired me to grow and improve as a teacher. Learning, much like science, is a process that doesn’t happen without some ups and downs. This award validates the hours we’ve spent together, struggling through hard work and mistakes, to reach a greater understanding of the natural world.

Claire Pichette Helena, MT | 7-12, Science, 2017

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

Claire Pichette has been a science teacher at Helena High School for the past 11 years. She currently teaches Project Lead the Way Principles of Biomedical Sciences, which is an elective for grades 9-12, and Biology I for 10th-grade students. As a coach for the school’s science Olympiad and Envirothon teams, Claire enjoys helping students prepare to compete at state and national levels. Her favorite activities involve getting outdoors in the field to learn and teach about Montana’s natural resources and management. With funding from the National Institutes of Health, Claire has worked with researchers from Montana Tech and the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program to help students learn about bacteriophages and how they can be used to combat antibiotic-resistant bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis. This opportunity has provided students with real-life, hands-on scientific research experience and exposure to graduate-level laboratory science in the classroom. Claire earned a B.A., cum laude, in biological sciences from Willamette University and a B.S. in biological sciences and secondary education from Montana State University. She is certified in broad field science and health professions—therapeutics.