The Presidential Award signifies my passion for high-quality science teaching and learning. It represents my pursuit of excellence in the teaching profession. Not only does this award reflect my achievements, but also my students, colleagues, and family whose support and inspiration have been integral to my success. I want to continue to improve my practice and, more importantly, share those practices and learn from others. The Presidential Award provides a pathway for achieving this goal.

David Degenhardt Columbia, SC | 7-12, Science, 2019

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

David “Dr. D.” Degenhardt has taught biology at Ridge View High School for six years. David serves as the lead teacher in the Institute for Health Sciences magnet where he teaches Medical Interventions, Honors Biology 1, Advanced Placement Biology, and Honors Research 1. David is a member of the Ridge View leadership team assisting with the creation and implementation of professional development. He regularly collaborates with faculty on cross-curricular lessons that integrate fine arts, English, and biology. David sponsors the green student committee which coordinates recycling and gardening projects at Ridge View. He works with the Special Education Department to develop inclusion opportunities through gardening. David collaborated with colleagues in Richland School District Two to develop curriculum and pacing guides for the 2014 South Carolina academic standards and performance indicators for science. He regularly presents at district, local, and state conferences on instructional strategies and model lessons. Sharing his love of science, David’s hallmark is engaging students in the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices to develop critical and analytical thinking. He has mentored over 200 independent student research projects, many of which have received top recognitions at state and regional competitions. In 2018, David was named the Department of Defense Junior Science and Humanities Symposium’s Teacher of the Year. David earned a B.S. in biology from Grand Valley State University and a Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of South Carolina. David is certified in secondary biology and is a National Board Certified Teacher.