Sureka Taylor, a seventh-grade life sciences teacher at The Champion School, was selected as one of 10 2013-14 national LifeChangers out of more than 435 teachers, administrators and school district employees nominated for the award from all 50 states.
The award recognizes educators who make a beneficial difference in the lives of students.
Taylor, who was nominated by assistant principal Cathy Dorsey, said she was humbled by the nomination and the comments that students, parents and teachers wrote on the National Life Group’s website.
“When I checked the website, I saw that I had about 170 comments from students, parents and colleagues and I was especially thrilled to read so many messages about how I changed my students’ perspectives on science,” she said.
Taylor said teaching students about science in a fun way with hands-on projects is her goal as a teacher.
“A lot of kids come into my class hating science and I grew up like that too, until I had a biology teacher who made learning fun with a lot of different activities,” she said.
Principal Yolanda Turner said Taylor’s enthusiasm for learning is reflected in her students’ achievements.
“This is not just a job for Ms. Taylor, she really loves what she does and gets students to love science, too,” Turner said.
She said Taylor’s students consistently have about a 98 percent passing rate on their Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores in the science category.
Taylor even started an after school science club.
“The students and parents helped build a garden behind the school where we grow organic vegetables and fruits,” Taylor said. “During our first year, we donated about 25 pounds of produce to a local food pantry and this year, we’ve decided to go along with First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative about eating healthy and we’ve started to send organic vegetables home. Then, the kids report to me what recipes they used and how they prepared the produce.”
For her achievement, Taylor also won a $1,000 personal prize and a $1,500 prize to be donated to the school.
For more information, visit www.lifechangeroftheyear.com.