David Amidon and Michele Cusack receive Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Awards

A composite image of two individuals. On the left, a bald man in a black suit, blue shirt, and blue patterned tie smiles at the camera. On the right, a woman with dark hair, wearing an orange and white patterned sleeveless top and a beaded necklace, also smiles.

National Association of Geoscience Teachers’ Outstanding Earth Science Teacher (OEST) awards are given for “exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the Earth Sciences at the pre-college level.” Any teacher or other K-12 educator who covers a significant amount of earth science content with their students is eligible. Ten national finalists are selected, one from each NAGT regional section. Some sections also recognize state/province winners. In 2023, two TASAA alums received these awards!

David Amidon (TAS, 2017) received a section award, for the Eastern Section. David has been teaching middle school science and high school courses at LaFayette Jr/ Sr High School in Central NY since 1999. He is active in the school as the adviser for National Junior Honor Society, Science Olympiad, the ECOS Environmental Club, and a coach of many sports. Beyond the classroom, Dave is a Teacher Ambassador for the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), Certified American Meteorological Society Teacher, and a Solar System Ambassador through NASA/JPL.  He has collaborated on many projects with teachers to create learning opportunities and assessments at the local, state, and national levels, including “Curious Cloudy Connections” with the National Earth Science Teachers Association Data Network Project this past spring.

David has also earned the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award, the American Geoscience Institute (AGI) Edward C. Roy Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching, and the Paul DeHart Hurd Award from the National Middle Level Science Teacher Association. He has been awarded the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators from the Environmental Protection Agency two times and earned the Excellence in Teaching award from the Science Teachers Association of New York State for the Intermediate Level.

Michele Cusack (TAS, 2010) received a state award, representing New Hampshire. Michele is a high school Earth and space science teacher in Salem, NH. Her philosophy stems from her experiences as a student and from teachers who made a difference in her own life. She believes every student can achieve what they need to, with the correct strategies. Teaching a specific content, such as science, is not the entire picture. It is holding students accountable, setting expectations for them, and leading by example so they can become critical thinkers and great citizens. She loves the content she teaches as well as the students she teaches.

Cusack’s enjoyment of adventure connects her students with real life. Her experiences have taken her to many places and have helped her students understand Earth’s spheres and their connections. She uses her students’ interests as an integral part in the curriculum.

Congratulations, David and Michele!

(Photos courtesy of NAGT and Clix)