Kristen Drury, a William Floyd High School chemistry teacher, has been selected to receive the Empire State Excellence in Teaching Program award, a statewide program that recognizes educators who ensure that learning is exciting, motivating and challenging for students. She will receive a $5,000 stipend to support professional development endeavors.
Ms. Drury, who teaches advanced placement chemistry, honors chemistry, Regents chemistry, general chemistry and forensics, has also been recognized by New York State as a Master Teacher in 2014, the first year of the program. She was selected in the first round of recipients and is only one of 70 teachers on Long Island to have achieved this honor. William Floyd has five New York State Master Teachers.
“This award will allow me to attend more conferences and participate in more professional development activities in order to continue to grow as a science educator,” said Ms. Drury. “I am very excited and thankful for this recognition. I look forward to these new opportunities and can’t wait to share new ideas with my community.”
Along with the recognition, Ms. Drury has been invited to participate in committees with colleagues, colleges and universities, as well as policymakers, to help change education for the better. Additionally, she will have the opportunity to attend national educational conferences and take courses to expand her knowledge.
“Ms. Drury is an extremely dedicated educator who strives to bring innovative and new techniques to her classroom,” said Lisa Lackemann, science chairperson, William Floyd High School. “She is highly respected by her colleagues and shares the techniques and strategies obtained through the Master Teacher and the Empire State Excellence programs with the department during our professional development sessions. Personally, I am very happy that she has been recognized for her dedication and hard work. I look forward to seeing the great things she will bring back to the students and staff of William Floyd.”
A strong advocate for student-centered classrooms and hands-on activities pertaining to real-world problems, Ms. Drury educates her students using a flipped classroom model and multidisciplinary lab lessons. She enjoys exploring concepts with her students that are relevant in everyday life. Ms. Drury’s professional interests focus on green chemistry; and related class projects include solar cells and recycling plastics. As a NYS Master Teacher, Ms. Drury has taken mini-courses on hydrofracturing and genetically engineered food. With fellow NYS Master Teachers, she is co-creating a Long Island chemistry teachers group that will help teachers share ideas with each other. She is also a member of the Rushton Science Education Research Group at Stony Brook University and is preparing to start her PhD in science education. She earned her BA and MA in Chemistry and Education from Stony Brook University.