Derry teacher who brings science to life a national award finalist
Science teacher Stephanie Burke has been named along with only three other Granite State teachers as a state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
“It’s not something I would have ever dreamed of when I was a kid,” Burke, who teaches eighth grade, said of her career path.
“I used to struggle with it,” Burke said. “I had a lot of people tell me I wasn’t very good at it, so I decided to get a degree in it.”
Principal Leslie Saucier said it’s easy to see why Burke was chosen as a finalist. Spending some time in her classroom can become a memorable experience.
As part of the award application process, Burke said, she had to submit a variety of materials, including three different recommendations she received. One of those recommendations holds a special meaning for Burke.
“I try so hard to make it acceptable to them and so hard to make it friendly and approachable and not intimidating,” she said. “I think you can make it hands-on and learn. If you talk about atoms, let’s get the models out; if you talk about chemical reactions, let’s do it, let’s see it. And I think, hopefully, that’s what made the difference.”
A dinner honoring Burke and the other state finalists — Jennifer Deenik of Souhegan High School in Amherst, Angela Lennox of Exeter High School and Emily Sherman of Longview School in Deerfield — is scheduled for Dec. 11 in Concord.
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