A longtime science teacher from Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kan., has been named the recipient of a prestigious Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators for 2014-2015.
Michael Hotz, of Smithville, Mo., a 30-year veteran educator who has taught science at Wyandotte High School since 1997, was one of 27 teachers from across the country who were recognized formally in ceremonies at the White House in Washington, D.C.
The PIAEE program recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students. Each year, up to two teachers from each of EPA’s 10 regions are selected to receive the award. This year, Hotz is the sole recipient in EPA Region 7, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and nine tribal nations.
The White House Council on Environmental Quality, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, administers this award to honor, support and encourage educators who incorporate environmental education in their classrooms and teaching methods.
In nominating Hotz for the award, Wyandotte High School Principal Mary M. Stewart cited his talent, commitment and passion for environmental education.
“He believes that learning is a multi-dimensional experience that includes classroom work coupled with life experiences,” Stewart wrote. “Dr. Hotz does not teach science; he guides his students on a journey of living the science they are learning.”
As a PIAEE award winner, Hotz receives a presidential award plaque and an award of up to $2,500 to be used to further his professional development in environmental education. Wyandotte High School will also receive an award of up to $2,500 to fund environmental educational activities and programs at the school.