photo of Kristen Drury holding award

WFHS Chemistry teacher Kristen Drury
(photo courtesy American Chemical Society)

Kristen Drury, William Floyd High School chemistry teacher, has recently been named the recipient of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Nichols Foundation Chemistry Teacher Award, a prestigious honor recognizing inspirational leadership and highly-effective teaching in chemistry.

According to the ACS, Ms. Drury, who runs a culturally-responsive classroom, stands at the cutting edge of high school teaching by emphasizing particulate models to deepen students’ conceptual understanding, and process-oriented guided inquiry to strengthen students’ process skills such as critical thinking, communication, problem-solving and teamwork.

Dr. Luisa McHugh, science chairperson, William Floyd School District, said that Ms. Drury’s flipped-classroom teaching style encourages students “to use 21st century skills to think critically as they are introduced to content and then work collaboratively in the classroom to communicate their knowledge and apply their understanding to new scenarios,” she said, adding, “It is always exciting to walk into her class and observe students actively engaged in the process of doing science.”

Ms. Drury continues to be among the leading educators in her field and has earned numerous awards and honors in the process. She was selected among the first group of New York State Master Teachers in 2014, now serving as a New York State Master Teacher Emeritus. She has also earned the 2016 Empire State Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2018 American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) “High School Chemistry Teacher of the Year” and the SCOPE Education Services Teacher Award. Then in 2019, she received the POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) Early Achievement Award and was named an “Outstanding Educator” by the William Floyd Alumni Association, as nominated by a former student. In 2020, she earned a Stony Brook University “40 Under Forty” award for demonstrating excellence and exemplifying the “Spirit of Stony Brook,” her alma mater. Then, in 2021, Ms. Drury was just one of five NYS finalists for the 2021 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (one of just three in science), one of the nation’s most prestigious honors for educators.

Additionally, for the past several years, the College Board has called upon Ms. Drury for her expertise as an AP chemistry reader. She has also been published in the peer-reviewed journal, Chemistry Solutions, on the American Association of Chemistry Teachers website and in the CHEM13 News Magazine, which is affiliated with the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Ms. Drury earned her BA in chemistry and her MA in liberal science studies both at Stony Brook University and has taught chemistry (general, advanced placement, Regents and honors) at William Floyd High School since 2005. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University since 2017.

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