Stephanie Pearson named 2019-20 Teacher of the Year


Courtesy of: Stephanie Pearson

Pearson loves to run in her free time. She took this picture during the Cloudland Canyon 50k.

Leah Boone, Opinions Editor

 AP Environmental Science teacher Stephanie Pearson was named Reagan’s Teacher of the Year for the 2019-2020 school year. Teacher of the Year is an annual decision that is voted on by all of Reagan’s teachers.

“Ms. Pearson makes students actually work hard, but at the same time, respects them,” said Anatomy and Physiology and Physical Science teacher Chris Vogel. “She values education more than people think.”

Pearson has been teaching at Reagan for four years. Before that, she taught science for five years at Flat Rock Middle School.

With teaching environmental science comes a large amount of responsibility, ensuring the students learn the important factors of our earth and how to live sustainably.

“I love being able to work with young people, because in my class in particular, I have the opportunity to basically change the world,” Pearson said.

Not only does Pearson change lives with her class, she also advises the Green Team, a new club focused on sustainability and what our community can do to become more environmentally friendly. 

Pearson’s curriculum varies from the biomes around the world to environmental disasters throughout history. With every subject she teaches, she brings a new form of passion and intelligence to the topic.

“She would always go over and repeat important information to help us memorize,” said junior Maddie Cohen. “I love that she is so calm all the time and radiates that energy to her students, especially when they are worried about tests.” 

Outside of school, Pearson spends a lot of time running. On Dec. 7, 2019, she ran the Cloudland Canyon 50k in Georgia. She is attempting her first 100 mile race in September.

“I think that Ms. Pearson doing so many races and other activities outside of school is inspirational because she is able to persevere and able to complete such amazing things,” Cohen said. 

Many past and current students of Pearson are very fond of her teaching style and how she runs her classroom.

“I like how Ms. Pearson is very hands on, and does activities and labs,” said sophomore Taylor Reilly. “The things she has taught me have made me think about how we should be more conscientious about the way we take care of the earth.”

Pearson began teaching in order to inspire her students and ensure they have a good high school career.

“I wanted to become a teacher because I loved science, number one, and number two, I wanted students to not have the same negative experience I had in high school,” Pearson said. 

The subject of environmental science could easily be a controversial topic, but Pearson does a fantastic job in keeping it unbiased and teaching the students what they need to know. 

“My main responsibility as a teacher is to teach students how to think, not what to think,” Pearson said.

The faculty and staff of Reagan has an immense amount of respect for Pearson and her teaching strategies. 

“She truly is one of those people who put kids first,” said principal Brad Royal. “She gets kids to love environmental science, and I think she starts that love through building a rapport with them.”

“She forces students to think and analyze, which deserves a lot of recognition,” Vogel said.

While she was not expecting to be Teacher of the Year, many others thought Pearson deserved the award.

“I think that the teachers chose her because they see her being student centered, being just truly enamored with trying to make a difference with kids and having this real drive to help kids see the environment around them and buy into the whole idea of environmental science,” Royal said.

Pearson spends every day working her hardest to give her students inspiration and a comfortable environment to learn. She plans to continue doing so.

“I want to be a safe place and an encouraging place for my students to thrive and learn to love science,” Pearson said. “My favorite part of teaching is that no day is the same, and my students bring a ray of sunshine to me every single day.”