Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Karen Molloy Named Virginia's 2012 AFA Teacher of the Year
Karen Molloy, who teaches Advanced Placement (AP) biology and chemistry and serves as science department chair at Chantilly High School, has been named the 2012 Virginia Teacher of the Year by the Air Force Association (AFA). Chantilly High School is a Fairfax County public school.
Molloy was nominated by the Gabriel Chapter of the Air Force Association, which named her its Teacher of the Year for four consecutive years based on her work to advance STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). The AFA specifically praised Molloy for her work with the local community to encourage and inspire students in STEM subjects, including working with the AFA, Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, and others in the defense industry to serve as mentors, financial sponsors, and technicians for students competing in the Cyber Patriot competition.
Known for her use of technology in the classroom, Molloy engages her students with interactive SMART Board activities, personal response clickers, digital photography, electronic learning stations, and probeware for data collection. By applying for several grants, she received funding to train her colleagues to use technology in the classroom; as a result, five teachers collaborated to create science lessons that incorporate more data collection using technology.
Molloy has a goal of increasing student involvement and enrollment in science classes at Chantilly; she is introducing a Genetics and Biotechnology elective course at the school for the first time during the 2012-13 school year, in which 60 students have enrolled. She has also worked to engage more citizens as judges for the school’s science fair along with increasing student participation. The number of judges has grown from 80 to 120 in four years, and nearly 600 students participated in this past year’s science fair. As sponsor of the Science National Honor Society, Molloy developed a speakers’ program to attract professionals such as medical doctors, university professors, engineers, and veterinarians to the school to speak to students. Her future plans include development of a STEM day for students in the Chantilly High School Pyramid to encourage more students to consider science as a career option.
During the summer, Molloy works for AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a nonprofit college readiness organization for students that also teaches teachers how to teach, where she authors science books and develops materials for summer institutes. Molloy will be leading three of the professional development institutes this summer which will help teachers rethink how they plan and instruct students to incorporate writing, inquiry, collaboration, reading, and organization into science education.
Molloy has worked for FCPS for 12 years; she taught at McLean High School for eight years and has been a teacher at Chantilly High School for the past four years.
Note: For more information, contact Karen Molloy at email@example.com.