I have received positive feedback from administrators, peers, parents, and students throughout my career, but the Presidential Award provides meaningful validation of my teaching practice. Teachers often work in isolation , so being selected for this award is confirmation that my instructional choices and methods are sound. Selection for this prestigious award gives me confidence to continue to provide instructional support, guidance, and encouragement to the next generation of science teachers.

Cheryl Fentress Bartlesville, OK | 7-12, Science, 2019

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

Cheryl Fentress has been a science teacher in the Bartlesville School District for 33 years. She is currently teaching ninth grade Honors Biology at Bartlesville High School where she's been for 17 years. She previously taught seventh grade life science at Central Middle School for 16 years. Before coming to Bartlesville, Cheryl was a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Tulsa and taught science and mathematics classes at Pawhuska High School for three years. Cheryl believes that understanding the scientific process is as important as content knowledge, so learning through scientific inquiry is a continuous thread in her biology classes. To build critical thinking skills, lab experiences make up 40% of her curriculum, and every lab includes a component of inquiry. All students complete an independent research project in the spring that is entered in the regional science fair. Through the years, hundreds of student projects have gone on to compete at the state and international levels, and many former students are now working in scientific fields. Participation in professional organizations has been a key component of professional development throughout Cheryl's career. She is a member of the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) and has benefited professionally from attending and presenting numerous workshops at regional and national NSTA conferences. She has participated in the Education Oklahoma Leadership Program, initially as a candidate for National Board Certification and then as a mentor and trainer for new candidates statewide. Cheryl attended the University of Tulsa where she earned a B.S. in education and a M.S. in biology. She is certified to teach algebra, analysis, calculus, anatomy/physiology, biology, chemistry, and zoology.