DEDHAM — The Gulf of Maine Research Institute honored recently Dedham School teacher Rhonda Tate with the second annual McCarthy Education Innovation Award. Institute education staff presented the award during a ceremony at the school.

The institute presents the award to the Maine instructor who best embodies its education principles. The purpose is to promote students’ interest in, understanding of and connection to scientific studies. The McCarthy Award is named after retired Unum CEO Kevin McCarthy, a longtime supporter of science education in Maine.

“Rhonda is one of Maine’s most active, innovative and inspiring educators,” said Meredyth Sullivan, the institute’s LabVenture! Program manager. “Her name immediately jumped to the top of our list for this award, based on her efforts to advance science education in our state.”

Tate impressed institute education staff during her first class’s LabVenture! visit. Her subsequent efforts through Vital Signs began in 2011 and continue today. Through the program, Tate encourages her students to see themselves as scientists by conducting real environmental research. For example, her students investigate invasive and native species in freshwater and upland environments using Vital Signs. Tate also contributes as an educator leader at many institute hosted teacher institutes, presentations and events.

“Rhonda impresses our entire team with the way she evolves her practice and collaborates with her students in their learning, as well as her own professional learning,” said Christine Voyer, Vital Signs program manager. “Rhonda is not only an amazing educator herself, she also shares her knowledge to help other educators.”

The institute will honor Tate in a ceremony later this fall. GMRI donors, corporate leaders and education leaders will be on hand to celebrate her accomplishment.

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