For years, John Mead, Eugene McDermott Master Teaching Chair in Science, has brought science to life for his students with an insatiable and infectious inquisitiveness for the natural world. In November 2018, John was recognized for his passion and dedication with the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award (OBTA) for the state of Texas, presented by the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT). This award, given annually, identifies one teacher from each of the United States who has made valuable contributions to the profession and to his or her students.
“The selection committee members were unanimous in their praise of Mr. Mead’s contributions to biology education and outreach and, most of all, to his dedication to his students,” said Lee Ferguson, the OBTA Director for the Texas Association of Biology Teachers.
John received the award during the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching in Ft. Worth on November 3, 2018, and was honored at the NABT Annual Professional Conference in San Diego a week later.
“Mr. Mead has always put his students first,” said Fletcher Carron, Stephen M. Seay ’68 Science Department Chair. “He gets to know each boy and cares for their individual success and growth. This award is a testament to how Mr. Mead has gone above and beyond to enrich his classes while also sharing his expertise with educators around the globe.”
John’s classes provide a rich exploration of life science, giving students a broad foundation while also taking them on deep dives into microscopy and human evolution. In recent years, he’s cultivated relationships with scientists in the Rising Star Cave expeditions, particularly with world-renowned paleoanthropologist Dr. Lee Berger, and he’s used those connections to enrich science education and to share more broadly with the full student body.
Just before receiving the OBTA, John returned to his alma mater, the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, where he spoke as this year’s Newell A. Augur ’15 Lectures in Science guest. At Hotchkiss, John told the story of his improbable friendship with Dr. Berger, who made headlines for his excavation of Homo naledi, a prehuman hominid. This friendship has resulted in many unique opportunities for Marksmen.