Chris Link Christina Hughes
Christina Hughes and Chris Link are two of the five winners in the 2011 Saint Louis Science Center/Carol B. and Jerome T. Loeb Prize for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics. The Loeb Prize rewards teachers who significantly enhance their students’ performances.
Hughes and Link will attend a special reception at the St. Louis Science Center on May 10. At the reception, first prize, runners-up and finalists will be announced. Carrie Launius, HSD science coordinator, nominated the teachers for the award.
Winners will be awarded cash prizes and their schools will receive funds for a field trip to the science center. The Loeb Prize, established in 1996, honors effective teaching as a central component of quality education. It is one way the Loebs and the science center show their commitment to teaching professionals and elevate public appreciation for teachers’ efforts. Jerome Loeb, retired chairman of the board of The May Department Stores Company, was chairman of the Science Center’s Board of Commissioners and a member of the board of trustees. Carol Loeb is an active community volunteer, current educator and serves on the Science Center’s Board of Trustees. Other 2011 Loeb winners represent John Burroughs School and the Lindbergh School District.
“I’m very honored. This is my fourth year teaching so having been nominated, I’m excited. I put in a lot of work I have contribute a lot of good suggestions to make HSD look good, promote the St. Louis Science Center and promote science, technology, engineering and math. It’s amazing,” said Link, who teaches seventh-grade science at Hazelwood West Middle School.
“I got a letter in the mail from the St. Louis Science Center award committee asking for my philosophy of education, letters of recommendation from staff and students and from parents,” he said. “I had peers, parents and kids from all three years I’ve taught in the District respond and recently I went to the science center and they asked me about my teaching methods and questions such as, ‘How do you instill the desire to learn in students?’ and ‘How do you improve student achievement?’”
The committee also asked him about his peer leadership abilities, any innovative current teaching methods and his personal mastery of science.
“Later, the committee asked me to come back and they told me I’m one of 12 finalists,” Link said. “The people on the committee are past Loeb winners and Mrs. Loeb was there. That was kind of neat but that also made me nervous.”
Those 12 finalists were narrowed into the five winners.
“We are so proud of Mr. Link and the work he is doing with our students and his colleagues and we believe he is the perfect representative for science teachers across Missouri,” said Hazelwood West Middle School Principal Dr. Allison Klouse.
“Chris is always willing to go the extra mile to make his instruction engaging, interactive and inquiry-based,” said Launius. “He will do whatever it takes to have his students not only learn, but apply that information. His enthusiasm for kids, teaching and science is unmatched.”
Hughes teaches biology and Project Lead the Way’s biomedical course at Hazelwood West High School.
“I’m excited. I have tried to work really, really hard for my kids and it’s nice to be recognized for the kids and for my hard work,” she said. “I’m taking about 35 kids with me to the science center because I think that will be a good motivator for me and show them they have hard-working teachers in their corner. Maybe it will encourage them to work hard for another teacher.
“Christina sets the bar for exemplary science instruction,” said Launius. “Her knowledge of content and ability to transform that knowledge into information that students understand is remarkable.”