Dr. Alexandra Valdes, a science teacher at LEAD Southeast since 2014, was recently named a 2017 Shell Urban Science Educator Award recipient. The award recognizes outstanding and diverse science teachers and provides them with ongoing professional development and growth opportunities.

Dr. Valdes, known throughout the network for her humility, hard work and care for her students, will attend the NSTA National Conference on Science Education in late March in Los Angelas. 

"An award like this means I can continue giving more to my community as a science teacher," Dr. Valdes said. "Each day is a new opportunity to ignite a brain about the fascinating world of science. I believe that you have to love what you do and my passion is to trach science and encourage others to be scientists."

Dr. Valdes was notified of the award earlier this semester. School Director Chris Elliott nominated her.

"Dr. Valdes is an incredibly talented educator who is a role model for her peers and students," he wrote. "Over the past three years, I really cannot express how valuable she is to our students, families, school and network. Her classroom is warm, welcoming and an academically-rigorous setting. Her work with students, teachers and our entire network is exemplary and I cannot recommend her highly enough."

Eligible teachers for the award, sponsored by Shell, must be K-12 science teachers in an urban setting who are African-American, Hispanic-American or Native American. Award winners are eligible for $1,800 to be used at the science conference and they are invited to a series of professional development workshiops throughtout the year. Dr. Valdes was one of seven recipients selected nationally for the award.

"I work at LEAD because it provides me with the resources to deliver my mission: to inspire and educate our youth in STEM careers," she said. "With this recognition, I hope to recruit other science teachers to our network and build an amazing science team."