TTU's Lashley named TSTA's Distinguished Teacher of the Year

For her success in helping educators teach science to their students, Terry Lashley, Tennessee Tech University assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, recently was named the Tennessee Science Teachers Association's Distinguished Educator of the Year.

Lashley, who instructs pre-service teachers in TTU's 2+2 program at Pellissippi State Technical Community College, has devoted more than 30 years to designing, developing and reforming science instruction and curricula. She also has taught classes in science, mathematics and information technology to elementary school teachers and middle and high school students and teachers.

"Science educators know that science is more than a collection of facts and formulas, it is also a way of interpreting our world," said Lashley. "I believe we can all make sense of the world if we have educational and real-life experiences designed to help us."

Lashley's major contributions to her field include 10 years as director of the Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative. Through that program, she strove to improve science, math and technology instruction to distressed rural counties in a six-state area, including Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky. For eight years, she interacted extensively with scientists, mathematicians and engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

She presently serves as principal investigator for the East Tennessee Partnership and as state coordinator for the National Science Teachers Association's "Building a Presence for Science" program. The East Tennessee Partnership is a data-driven professional development grant that links student achievement to teacher credentials.

"Middle school science teachers find and document the gaps in their students' achievement, then the program helps each teacher identify the specific professional development he or she needs to help students better understand the science concepts," she said.

"It is my professional and moral responsibility to create the conditions for learning for students. All children are entitled to a good education in the sciences, and they need that education to be productive citizens."

Lashley earned a doctorate in education and master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and a bachelor's degree in biology and secondary education from the University of Wisconsin. She taught in the Knox County school system for many years.

Lashley received TSTA's award earlier this month at Nashville's Opryland Hotel during the National Science Teachers Regional Conference.