Outstanding Texas Educator

Each year TAS recognizes a mathematics or science teacher from Texas as the Outstanding Texas Educator.  The selection of this award is made by the TAS of Directors from candidates for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) and the award is presented in early March at our annual meeting.  

2020 Outstanding Texas Educator

Mrs. Kay Fincher
Amarillo High School, Amarillo, Texas

     Mrs. Kay Fincher earned a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry from West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas way back in 1986. After teaching middle school science for 10 years she began teaching physics at Amarillo High School. Unhappy with the quality of her physics teaching, she attended summer workshops at Arizona State University to learn a research-based student-centered teaching method known as Physics Modeling Instruction. In 2005 she earned her master’s degree in physics education from Arizona State. During her last summer in Arizona, she and several other teachers founded the American Modeling Teachers Association to promote the Modeling Instruction teaching method. Mrs. Fincher leads
Modeling Instruction Workshops around the state and presents at national, state, and regional conferences in addition to being an AP Physics reader. She is a member of the Amarillo ISD’s science curriculum cadre and is the lead physics teacher in the district. For her excellence in and dedication to science education, Mrs. Fincher was chosen as a state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching in 2017 and 2019.
     Fincher currently teaches AP Physics 1 and 2 at Amarillo High School in Amarillo, Texas. Using the Modeling Instruction teaching method, she allows her students to construct their understanding of physics principles by analyzing experimental data and engaging in evidence-based argument. In the words of one of her former students, “Mrs. Fincher creates, in her classroom, the perfect environment for scientific learning. We were always encouraged to find, for ourselves, what was true. Through hands on experiments, group work, or lively debate, we were always free to learn effectively in our own style. And, at any time we were stuck or needed a little extra information, she would help just enough to point us to the next step.”


RECENT OUTSTANDING TEXAS EDUCATORS:

2019 -Celene Rosen, Barksdale Elementary School, Plano, Texas

2018 - Megan Gabriel, MSMT Denton High School, Denton, Texas

2017 - Kirk Evans 5th grade teacher at Olson Elementary (Allen ISD) in Allen, TX

2016 - Carol Brown, Honors and AP Chemistry teacher at Saint Mary’s Hall in San Antonio, Texas

2015 - Celena Miller, Science and Technology Lab Instructor, Cesar Chavez Elementary

2014 - Mark Misage, Physics, Westlake High School

2013 - info to be added soon

2012 - info to be added soon

2011 - Martha Elizabeth Fiedler McLeod, Elementary, Biology, Westport