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2015 Top Ten Educator of the Year: Mary Katherine Parson


Monday, August 01, 2016

2015 Top Ten Educator of the Year: Mary Katherine Parson

Mary Katherine Parson
Science Teacher
Little Rock Central High School, Little Rock, AR

In 2010, Mrs. Parson was named the Little Rock Central High School Teacher of the Year and the Little Rock School District Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Parson has taught at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Arkansas Virtual High School and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. An educator at Little Rock Central High School since 2004, she has instructed Biology, Chemistry, AP Biology, Pre-AP Biology and Marine Biology and Oceanography. Mrs. Parson developed a curriculum and lab manual for Marine Biology and Oceanography, which has been adopted by two other school districts, the Independent Research Projects Handbook, and course websites. Mrs. Parson has presented professional development workshops on technology, virtual labs, and inquiry labs in the classroom. She has served as the Outstanding Teacher Award Director for National Association of Biology Teachers for the past six years. Mrs. Parson is also a member of the National Association of Biology Teachers, the National Association for Gifted Children, and the Southern Association of Marine Educators. She is a mentor and proofreader for educators pursuing National Board Certification, and she is a mentor for student teachers. Mrs. Parson earned a Bachelor of Arts in biology and religious studies from Hendrix College and a master’s in education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Mrs. Parson shares her teaching methods, “My goal as a teacher is to build rapport with each child and construct an environment where they feel comfortable asking questions and learning from their mistakes so that they develop the intellectual and life skills necessary to be self-sufficient, successful adults. In my class, students explore first-hand the amazing diversity of life on Earth, build scientific literacy and problem solving skills, learn to use modern technology to be both college and career ready, apply their understanding of science to real-world issues and develop interpersonal skills as they debate controversial topics and learn to work together to reach the high expectations of my class.”

Principal of Little Rock Central High School Nancy Rousseau writes, “Mrs. Parson is a dedicated teaching professional who consistently works hard to lead her students toward academic success. She does all this while contributing to her school and community.” Mrs. Parson’s nominating students adds a similar statement, “Mrs. Parson is a dedicated and inspiring teacher. She will help anyone who needs to be helped and makes sure that her students understand the material being taught. Her students have had very high success rates on the biology end-of-course exam every year, earning the highest scores in the school.”

Claes Nobel Educators of the Year

NSHSS is pleased to highlight our 2015-2016 Claes Nobel Educators of the Year, presented to ten exemplary educators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to preparing students for success in college and in life. These ten educators are among NSHSS’s student-nominated Claes Nobel Educators of Distinction, a program that recognizes educators who model best practices in teaching, are a positive influence for students and peers, and demonstrate outstanding leadership in education and community engagement. Since the inception of the Educators of Distinction program in 2004, NSHSS has recognized more than 38,000 educators worldwide.