Receiving the Presidential Award is an incredibly humbling honor. It highlights the support and encouragement from my mentors and the exceptional professional development opportunities in which I have been allowed to participate. I have been fortunate to be surrounded by a community of passionate educators and this award further inspires me to continue investing that passion in the students we serve and the educators who support them. I am honored to join this dedicated community of educators.

Amy Leising Omaha, NE | 7-12, Science, 2019

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

Amy Leising has been an educator for 20 years and has spent the past eight years teaching science at the Zoo Academy , a multi-district high school partnership located at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. She began her career in informal education as a teacher-naturalist at Pioneers Park Nature Center and then spent 10 years as a biology, advanced placement biology, and earth science teacher at Bryan High School. She currently teaches 11th-12th grade Environmental Science, Veterinary Science, Advanced Zoo Research, and Zoo Operations. An enthusiasm for sharing the natural world is an obvious influence in Amy’s teaching as she uses the zoo to help students investigate science processes by taking them into zoo exhibits and bringing zoo examples into her classroom. She especially enjoys allowing students to use modeling and local conservation challenges to help them understand abstract ideas in tangible ways and to make their own, local impact. Amy spends her summers involved in field-based professional development opportunities as well as assisting in the development of new curriculum for her school district. She routinely assists in facilitating professional development for teachers in the Omaha Public Schools and has also presented at regional conferences for science teachers. Amy earned a B.S. in fisheries and wildlife and a Master of Secondary Teaching, both from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She is a certified teacher in biology.