Best Science Teacher (2000)
No job is harder than teaching public school. So how does Jamie Scott, the integrated-physics and chemistry teacher at HISD's Hamilton Middle School, make it look like so much fun? The big, blond, smiling bear of a man is clearly doing something right. His students come home from citywide science fairs covered with ribbons and beaming with pride. But even Scott must have been overwhelmed by his eighth-graders' success this past summer. All year long Allison Carr, Jonathan Lew, Haley O'Neil and Skyler Schawe worked under Scott's supervision on a project for the Bayer Corporation National Science Foundation for Community Innovation Competition. The kids called their project the Science Squad. It was an amazingly elegant idea. The four eighth-graders developed a series of mini hands-on lessons that they could take into elementary schools and thus inspire fifth-graders to get excited about all those science classes they'd be taking once they got to middle school. The Science Squad won at each level of competition, and the students finally found themselves competing this summer at Walt Disney World, where not only did they bring home a second-place trophy, but they and Scott won a $25,000 grant to fund the training of future Science Squad members. Teaching really doesn't get any better than this.