Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

Chizek named state finalist for excellence in science

September 14, 2018
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

Lisa Chizek, the 4th and 5th grade science educator of 18 years at North Tama, has been selected as one of six state finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, joining educators from across the country as finalists recognized by the Iowa Department of Education and the National Science Foundation.

"Kris Kilibarda, the Science Program Consultant from the Iowa Department of Education emailed to let me know I was selected as an Iowa state finalist," Chizek said. "The email brightened my day. Being a state finalist is an honor because the award is prestigious and acknowledges that hard work I have put into my teaching practice."

Chizek obtained her Master's Degree in Science Education at the University of Northern Iowa, during which time she thought about how children learn best and why she taught the way she does. She credits her studies for giving "attention to how and what my students were learning so I could support their learning better."

Article Photos

"I was drawn to science education because science is so interesting," Chizek said. "I have always enjoyed being outdoors learning about nature. I used to pick up worms as I walked to school on rainy days and take them in to my Kindergarten teacher, not to be mean, but because I thought they were so fascinating. I have always loved to look at the stars and wonder what it would be like to travel out there. I am also someone who is always curious and wants to learn more. My family is very science, math and music oriented. In fact, my great grandmother graduated from the University of Iowa in Botany in 1897."

Through her work in the classroom, Chizek promotes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education through age-appropriate activities and field experts during North Tama's annual STEM Day.

"I honor my students' curiosity about their world, encourage them to ask questions and work to figure out how they can answer their own questions," Chizek said. "Student-centered classrooms take hard work and more time on the part of the teacher than teacher-directed traditional lecture classrooms, but are essential for deeper learning. Students learn both the processes and the concepts of science and are not just listening to lectures, reading about science and memorizing facts. Students love doing hands-on investigations, find science more interesting and grow confident in their abilities to develop their own investigations for science. I hope my classroom helps develop students who think more deeply and differently about things, ask good questions, work to answer their questions, evaluate information, construct and support their thinking with evidence and design effective solutions to problems. "

National award recipients receive a paid trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend recognition events and pursue professional development opportunities, a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation and a certificate signed by the president of the United States.

"The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching is the nation's highest science teaching honor, and we are very proud of Mrs. Chizek for being named a state finalist for this prestigious recognition," North Tama Superintendent David Hill said. "Lisa's finalist status is certainly deserved, as she is a model science teacher and truly a leader in her field. I honestly can't think of anyone who is more qualified or deserving of this type of recognition."

Chizek has been honored numerous times on the local and state level for the ways she has impacted student learning. In 2013, the Tama County Community Foundation acknowledged Chizek's leadership of the Tama County STEM Festival by recognizing the festival with an award for vision, impact, innovation and creativity. That same year, she received the Iowa Academy of Science's Excellence in Science Teaching Award. In 2015, Chizek received the STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching from the Governor's STEM Advisory Council. She was also a state finalist for this same national recognition in 2016.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web