This award acknowledges how crucial it is for students to gain research knowledge and experience in anticipation of college and careers. Receiving this award will empower me to shine a light on the achievements students are capable of when challenged to explore the world and learn through inquiry. In doing so, I hope to inspire other teachers to engage students through research and science as well. I am honored to represent my school and district for their commitment to student learning.

Megan Heberle Savannah, GA | 7-12, Science, 2019

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

Megan Heberle has taught science and coordinated the scientific research program at Islands High School for six years. She currently teaches Scientific Research and Zoology to 9th-12th grade students. For two years prior, she taught second grade and fifth grade at Shuman Elementary School. Megan is a member of the school's instructional leadership team and implemented a schoolwide change to the sequence of science courses so that all freshmen are first enrolled in physics, then chemistry, followed by biology. Megan works to incorporate hands-on research projects at all four levels into the Scientific Research curriculum. Students design and carry out their own research projects, learn how to statistically analyze and graph their findings, then present their work at their annual symposium. Students in Megan’s research program are provided the opportunity to catch, band, and measure songbirds in their natural habitat . This is a unique experience as the permits required to do this are usually held by university professors, restricting the opportunity to college and graduate students. During the 2019–2020 school year, Megan was selected for and completed the accelerated teacher leadership program. This professional development program provided information, training, and field experiences for teachers who may wish to pursue leadership roles. Megan earned a B.S. in life science from the University of Portland and a M.Ed. from Grand Canyon University. She holds seven teaching certificates including science and earth/space science for grades 6–12; mathematics, social sciences, and science for grades four through eight; and elementary education for pre-kindergarten through grade five. She also holds an endorsement for gifted education in all fields.