Every day Andrew Hulse walks into his biology classroom at Cherokee Trail High School with a clearly defined goal; “Transcend beyond the ‘what.’” For his students, that means moving past scientific explanations to engage in areas where they can apply their knowledge. For Hulse, it means creating an environment where students are motivated to succeed both in and outside of the classroom.
Though he has been teaching less than five years, Hulse has already made a lasting impact on his students and colleagues. It’s no wonder he was recognized with the 2016 Outstanding New Biology Teacher Achievement Award, presented by the National Association of Biology Teachers and supported by Pearson and the Neil A. Campbell Educational Trust.
The award recognizes outstanding middle and high school biology and life science teachers (who are within their first three years of teaching at the time of their nomination) who have developed an original and outstanding program or technique and made a contribution to the profession at the start of his/her career. The award includes a one-year NABT membership, a recognition plaque and a travel fellowship to the NABT Professional Development Conference.
Before coming to Cherokee Trail, Hulse taught general and Honors Biology, AP Environmental Science, Field Biology, and Zoology at Blue Valley High School in Overland, Kansas. A desire to build meaningful relationships with his students and colleagues led Hulse to volunteer for international educational trips, serve as a sponsor for a number of student clubs, participate in various school and district committees, and somehow still find time to help coach the cross country, baseball and basketball teams.
In a letter supporting Hulse’s nomination for the NABT award, one of his students praised his “genuine care” for students and went on to add, “Mr. Hulse not only teaches us what we need to know to excel on paper, but also what we need to know to contribute to society in a meaningful way by fostering that curiosity in the classroom.”
Hulse takes advantage of technology so that his students can interact with research scientists and other professionals from their local community and around the world. These experts not only give presentations to classes, they communicate with students by providing valuable feedback on ideas and projects.
“Collectively, I encourage my students to explore their own personal future in STEM – whether as a citizen of earth and/or as a professional in the field,” Hulse said.