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Wendy Johnson is Michigan's OBTA for 2020!

posted Jul 9, 2020, 2:25 PM by Mark Eberhard
Please join us in congratulating the 2020 Michigan Outstanding Biology Teacher Award recipient, Wendy Johnson. Wendy earned a bachelor's degree in biology and teaching certificate from Hope College in 2005. She began her teaching career at Lansing Catholic High School where she taught Biology, AP Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, and Chemistry. During that time she also earned a master's degree in biological sciences from Michigan State University. Her research involved working with the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action to develop and test curriculum using the Avida-ED digital evolution software. A portion of her thesis, Evolution in Action in the Classroom, was published in The American Biology Teacher.

In the fall of 2013, Wendy stepped away from the classroom to pursue a PhD in science education at Michigan State University. She worked on the Carbon TIME Project developing an NGSS-aligned biology curriculum and professional development for teachers. She also taught courses for preservice science teachers and served as a field instructor for student teachers. Her dissertation research examined the role of curiosity in classroom discourse to support three-dimensional science learning. In 2017 she earned a dual PhD in Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education and in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior.

Graduate school heightened Wendy's awareness of issues of equity in education. She knew that upon completion of her degree, she wanted to teach and enroll her two daughters in a diverse public school district. In 2017 she and her husband moved their family to Kentwood for her to take a job with Kentwood Public Schools, the most diverse district in the state. She is currently teaching at the East Kentwood Freshman Campus where she has taken an active role in helping to develop a new 9th grade science curriculum that combines biology and physics performance expectations. She is also a member of her school's PBIS committee working to ensure equitable outcomes for all students.

Wendy has been an active member of NABT, presenting at six of the national professional development conferences. She has had three articles published in The American Biology Teacher and has also served as a reviewer for the journal. She was a participant in the first cohort of the NABT/BSCS AP Biology Leadership Academy, and went on to help lead Biology Teacher Academies in Michigan, New York, and Colorado.

Wendy has a passion for supporting other science teachers. She has presented more than 50 times at state and national conferences and local workshops for teachers. She has also worked as an independent consultant providing professional development to school districts and creating online learning modules around the NGSS. She is a current member of the board of directors of the Michigan Association of Biology Teachers, a state affiliate of NABT.

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