By Sue Botos
Rocky River High School biology teacher Ann Brokaw has recently added the Kim Foglia AP Biology Service award to her growing list of achievements.
According to the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) website, the award “recognizes an AP Biology instructor who displays a willingness to share materials, serves as a mentor to both students and professional colleagues, creates an innovative, student centered classroom environment, and exemplifies a personal philosophy that encourages professional growth as an AP Biology teacher and member of that community.”
The award is named for Kim Foglia, a well-known member of the national AP biology online community who died in 2011 after a long illness. She was helping to write new lab programs in keeping with the upcoming changes to the biology curriculum. NABT and Pearson, an educational publishing and assessment service, are the sponsors of the recognition.
The 20-year teaching veteran will receive a $1,000 honorarium, a recognition plaque to be presented at the NABT professional development conference and one year’s complimentary membership in the organization.
Brokaw is also one of 46 biology teachers nationwide participating in the NABT’s AP Biology Leadership Academy, a two-year program designed to develop a new generation of leaders in biology education.
By participating in the academy, educators will have the opportunity to strengthen their AP biology teaching skills in the hope of sparking interest in the subject among students, who then may pursue the science in college. Upon completion of her studies this year, Brokaw will conduct a free one-day summer workshop in Rocky River for teachers from Northeast Ohio and Michigan that is focused on the new curriculum framework that is currently being constructed for AP biology.
According to high school Principal Debbie Bernard, Brokaw is well-deserving of the honor. “Ann establishes a rapport with all students and has developed courses of study for both special needs and AP students.” She added that Brokaw continually focuses on her own professional development to improve her teaching. Bernard also noted Brokaw’s “demonstrated passion for biology and science education,” as well as her “determination to impact each and every student who enters her classroom.”
Brokaw commented that being recognized with this award was extremely humbling. “Kim Foglia was an incredible role model of professionalism and graciousness and was lost too soon to cancer.
“As (Foglia) once said, ‘Look at your classroom and pick out your best practices and offer to freely share them with teachers beyond your district. You’ll be amazed at how much more you will get back,’” Brokaw added.
Brokaw said that she has put these words to use throughout her career and beyond. “Both my professional and personal life have been so incredibly enriched by trying to pass on a little of what Kim Foglia provided to so many. Being recognized with her service award only reinvigorates my dedication to pass Kim’s legacy forward.”