Receiving the Presidential Award is one of the highlights of my career and I am humbled and honored to be recognized with other educators for our excellence in teaching. This award symbolizes my commitment to providing students with the best education possible in our sometimes chaotic and energetic classroom. I would not be the educator I am today without the support and patience of amazing colleagues, friends, and family who serve as role models of exemplary teaching and inspire me every day.

Alessandra MacFarlane Hillsborough Township, NJ | 7-12, Science, 2019

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

Alessandra MacFarlane has been an educator for 11 years and has spent the last two teaching eighth grade science at Hillsborough Middle School. She previously taught for seven years at Old Turnpike School, two years at Orange Avenue School and Livingston Avenue School. Alessandra’s energy and interest for science is contagious and students appreciate her enthusiasm for the subject matter. She incorporates phenomenon-based learning that brings real-world context into the classroom and encourages student discovery. Guest speakers in chemistry, earth science, and genetics support her curriculum in order to encourage students to make connections and learn from professionals in the field. Alessandra’s commitment to science education goes beyond the classroom with roles in Achieve’s peer review panel and as a teacher leader with the Raritan Valley Community College Science Institute. She collaborated with colleagues to align district curriculum to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), developed NGSS assessments with the state’s Science Coordinator, and attends regional and national science conferences. Alessandra presented at the New Jersey Science Convention sharing her experience with modifying instructional materials to the NGSS. She is a member of the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) and the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). Alessandra earned a B.A. in Italian and a B.S. in elementary education from Saint Joseph’s University, magna cum laude; a Leadership in STEM certificate from NASA’s Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate project; and a M.S. in science education from the University of Massachusetts. She is completing a leadership in education degree from Centenary University. She is a certified elementary and middle school science teacher.