A Pair of Prestigious Awards for Middle School Teacher AnnMarie Mills

A Pair of Prestigious Awards for Middle School Teacher AnnMarie Mills

AnnMarie Mills of the middle school recently won the Suffolk County Science Teachers Association’s Middle School Teacher of the Year award as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators.

Mills recently completed the Greentree Foundation Teacher’s Ecology Workshop, developing a mature-centered outdoor classroom science curriculum which incorporated local ecosystems in all units as well as emphasizing the importance of regular outdoor learning. She also adopted a place-based education philosophy in which students use Long Island ecology and environmental issues as primary learning resources for learning. She collaborated with Molloy College and CERCOM’s Crab Club to raise five juvenile horseshoe crabs in her classroom and worked with the Seatuck Environmental Foundation to allow students to raise and release quail chicks. Mills has offered Islip’s students numerous exciting field trips, fostering a love of science, including a “A Day in the Life of the River” at Babylon’s Carlls River, “Fall into Nature” at Seatuck, a marine biology fishing trip in the Great South Bay, a “floating classroom” at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences in Southampton, and Molloy College’s Women in Science Conference.

Mills will travel with her family to Washington D.C. in July to receive the EPA award. As part of winning the PIAEE, Mills will receive a plaque and $2,500 to further her professional development in environmental education, and the Islip School District will also receive $2,500 to fund environmental educational activities and programs.  

“AnnMarie takes teaching to the next level by applying real-world scenarios into daily lessons,” said Principal Timothy Martin. “Her students get to experience the environment right outside the classroom window which makes her lessons tangible, fun, and realistic for students.”