Kansas Outstanding Biology Teacher (OBTA) Selected

Congratulations to Kim Houtz, Kansas 2008 recipient of the National Association of Biology Teachers’ Outstanding Biology Teacher Award (OBTA).

Kim has been teaching at Marysville High School since 1999. Since that time she has taught a variety of biology classes, including Human Anatomy and Human Physiology and has introduced a new class entitled “Forensic Science”. Her education background includes a B.S. in biology, a B.S. in secondary science education and an M.Ed from Kansas State University in education administration. Kim continues to strengthen her knowledge of biology and science teaching through involvement in state and national conventions, summer institutes (for example, “Strengthening Science Instruction Using Forensic Science”), workshops (as “RNA and Origins of Life”) and involvement in programs as Kansas State Curriculum Leaders.

Kim’s goal is to heighten her student’s curiosity about science and help them to see that science is “fascinating and directly applies to each student’s life”. To help accomplish this, she implements a variety of instructional strategies. Some of her favorite techniques come from Robert Marzano and Dr. Richard Allen. She encourages student movement in the classroom and is especially interested in incorporating research based instructional strategies. The majority of her class is project based, with students participating regularly in labs, activities, model building and utilization of appropriate technology.

Kim commands the respect and affection of students, administrators and parents. Two former students in a letter commented that “taking her classes have enabled us to take on the coursework of college with ease and has thoroughly prepared us for the steps ahead in our professional careers…She shows creativity and her Biology lessons are engaging and relative to our lives”. Her principal said “students are actively and positively engaged in the learning of the subject material she is teaching…you can easily observe and overhear their enthusiasm for the learning process.” Finally, a parent stated that “Ms Houtz stands firm in her commitment to an expectation of excellence from her students. She does this while showing a genuine interest in the individual student and treating them in a respectful and professional manner”.

Congratulations to Kim Houtz for an outstanding contribution to biology education in Kansas and for receiving this prestigious award.