TA News

VASE Names Derek Burkins Vermont STEM Teacher of the Year

The Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering (VASE) recently named TA faculty Derek Burkins the 2021 STEM Teacher of the Year for grades 9-12. On September 22, Burkins will be honored at VASE’s annual meeting on the Middlebury College campus and share remarks about his career path and teaching philosophy. The annual event is headlined this year by educator, activist, and environmentalist Bill McKibben, who will deliver the keynote address on the topic of climate change and global warming.

In her nomination letter, Head of School Carrie Brennan wrote: “Derek strives to take complex physics and chemistry material and create hands-on, in-depth lessons that provide all learners access to the knowledge and concepts. He also works to create real-world applications and connections to the science content he is teaching. … He presents a calm and caring demeanor with students, maintains a well-organized and structured space for teaching and learning, and communicates clear and high expectations for students.”

Burkins, who joined the TA faculty in 2016, teaches Chemistry and Advanced Chemistry, Physics, and Computer Science. He serves as the science department representative on the school’s Academic Advisory Committee, collaborating with colleagues on teacher professional development, implementation of proficiencies, and other strategic initiatives related to curriculum, instruction, and assessment. “Derek is a teacher leader,” says Brennan, “whose level of commitment extends beyond his own classroom to encompass an investment in schoolwide excellence.”

Please join us in congratulating Derek Burkins as VASE Outstanding Science Teacher of the Year. The September 22 VASE meeting is open to the public and all interested students and families are welcome to attend. For more information, contact Head of School Carrie Brennan.



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