Stephanie Miles was named the 2013 High School Science Teacher of the year by the Georgia Science Teachers Association, a non-profit organization of science teachers across the state.
Miles is in her 13th year at Villa Rica High, where she teaches Advanced Placement environmental science, among other courses.
“It’s always nice to be recognized for the hard work you put in, but to have it come from the main science teacher organization in the state is incredible,” Miles said.
Miles was nominated by a mentor at the University of West Georgia, which received four recognitions from GSTA, she said.
“All of my students and fellow teachers are very excited,” Miles said. “I’ve gotten an incredible response, and more hugs in the past few days than I can remember.”
Miles, who has been teaching for 18 years now, holds a bachelor’s degree in earth science and a specialist’s degree in secondary science education.
Trey Staples, media specialist at VRHS, said Miles has taught several science workshops for teachers in her career and has been part of many local science camps and science nights.
“Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a strong desire to mentor other teachers,” Staples said.
One such project is Miles’ partnership with Lisa Davis, another VRHS science teacher. Together, the two started the first plastic bottle recycling program at the school.
Miles’ AP environmental science students are taking part in the Adopt-a-Stream program in which they monitor a section of the Little Tallapoosa River.
The school’s principal, Adam Herring, said he is “very proud” of the teacher.
“She has always been a very dedicated and innovative teacher, and I think this honor is well-deserved,” Herring said.
In addition to the award from GSTA, Miles received the 2013 Georgia Science Teachers Educational Foundation Conference grant to go to the National Science Teachers Association conference in Texas in April.
“It has just been such an incredible, humbling experience,” Miles said. “I’’m happy and thrilled that I get to share with others the good work we’ve done at Villa Rica.”
In her 18 years of teaching, Miles has taught courses on applied biology, chemistry, physical science, environmental science and earth systems.
Each year, GSTA recognizes excellence in science teaching through the science teacher awards and recognition program.
The Science Teacher of the Year award recognizes excellence in the teaching and science and commitment to its improvement and outstanding achievement in elementary, middle and high school science teaching is recognized with the selection of a state winner.
To receive the award, teachers must submit several lesson plans for classes they have taught.
Any professionally certified teacher with four or more years of experience may be nominated by a supervisor or peer. Recipients of the teacher of the year award are expected to make a presentation at the annual GSTA conference or submit an article for the newsletter.
All GSTA award winners will be honored at a special awards banquet on Feb. 23 in Macon.
GSTA is a professional organization dedicated to improving science teaching at all levels, pre-school through university. The association’s stated mission is to provide leadership and service for science education.
The current membership of more than 2,000 includes science teachers, supervisors, administrators, scientists and representatives of business and industry.
More information on GSTA can be found online at www.georgiascienceteacher.org.