Kathy Tait wins OEST Award for PA and Eastern Region


We are thrilled to share that PAESTA Past President Kathy Tait (middle school teacher at J.R. Masterman School in Philadelphia) has been recognized by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) Eastern Section with their Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award (OEST) for the state of Pennsylvania and for the entire Eastern section. Kathy was recognized by NAGT-ES at their meeting in May.

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.

From the NAGT-ES Summer 2017 newsletter is the following citation:

Kathleen Tait teaches at the J.R. Masterman School, Philadelphia, PA. Kathleen has been teaching middle school for 20+ years. "I perceive myself as being a lifelong learner. To me everyday raises an opportunity to learn about any aspect of life, which interests me. The important part of being a learner is being open to all of the possibilities that arise both formally and informally. Formally, I have taken several postgraduate courses both at the University of Pennsylvania and through the school district of Philadelphia's professional development... Informally, I learn through just the process of living. My students have been my greatest teacher. Every time, I teach a lesson, my students always share their thoughts, express their ideas, and I find myself sitting in awe of their perceptions and abilities. Learning can occur no matter what the age or location, as long as you are open to the experience....I always wanted to teach, since the time I was five years old. Teaching is not about imparting knowledge but about the journey we take to discover new ideas and to share that knowledge with others. Being a teacher allows me to teach the skills needed for the students to go out and learn through discovery or research. I like to provide the methods one can use to learn and as a result the students can apply those skills to learn more about the world than by just taking a course. I want them to be lifelong learners as I am.” In addition to serving as a girls tennis coach and Dean of 7th grade students at her school, Kathleen has been very active in the Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association (PAESTA), a state-affiliate of NESTA. Kathleen was a founding member in 2011 and served as President in 2015-2016. She has served as chair of PAESTA's Nominations Committee, and she is currently serving on the Executive Committee and chair of the Award for Teaching Excellence Committee. Kathleen has presented at two NE GSA section meetings and published her curricular innovations in The Earth Scientist.

Congratulations, Kathy, on this significant honor!