When a teacher is just starting out, it's hard to imagine how much they'll grow each year. This growth happens because of all the selfless people working together to make our educational system better for our students. So this award recognizes work that was developed in collaboration with all of my mentors, colleagues, students, community members, friends, and my family who shaped my thinking over the years. I'm lucky to have worked with such a sharing and collaboratively-minded community.

Michael Todd Ames, IA | 7-12, Science, 2017

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

Michael "Mike" Todd has taught biological and physical sciences for 14 years; the past 13 years at Ames High School and one year at Hiatt and Hoyt Middle Schools. He currently teaches 11-12th-grade AP Biology, Chemistry, Physical Science, and Advanced Biology. Mike has a passion for creating educational experiences that have long-term impacts on students. In 2018, he co-founded The Community Academy, an educational non-profit that engages K-12 students in authentic educational experiences that enrich the community and promote a sense of place in nature. Mike's innovative teaching methods engage his students in student-driven, interdisciplinary, community impact projects that work to transform the environment, community member mindsets, and the students’ sense of place. He has mentored his students to implement over 300 projects, including the collaboration with over 100 residents to design and grow native plant pollinator gardens, the design and construction of outdoor learning environments on several school campuses, and the development of a student-run garden. Mike earned an A.A.S. in electronic engineering from Iowa Western Community College; a B.S. in electrical engineering, a B.S. in physics, a M.A.T. in science education, and a M.S. in neuroscience from Iowa State University. He is certified in secondary biology, chemistry, and physics.