Local teachers named science teachers of the year

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published February 22, 2018

 Jean Buller, center, of Clifford Smart Middle School, was named Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Science Teachers Association. John Gregg, left, math and science instructional coordinator for Walled Lake Consolidated Schools, and David Tucker, principal of Clifford Smart, join Buller in a photo.

Jean Buller, center, of Clifford Smart Middle School, was named Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Science Teachers Association. John Gregg, left, math and science instructional coordinator for Walled Lake Consolidated Schools, and David Tucker, principal of Clifford Smart, join Buller in a photo.

Photo provided by Dan Durkin/Walled Lake Consolidated Schools

WALLED LAKE/SOUTHFIELD — Two local teachers have been named teachers of the year by a state agency.

Anne LaSovage, of Southfield High School for the Arts and Technology, and Jean Buller, of Clifford Smart Middle School, were recently named science teachers of the year by the Michigan Science Teachers Association.

Elementary, middle school, and high school and college science teachers around the state were nominated for the award, but just one in each category was chosen for the recognition.

The teachers are chosen based on their best practices, inspiring their students, demonstrating innovating teaching strategies, being role models for students and other teachers, and showing a passion for science and teaching.

LaSovage has been teaching at Southfield A&T since 2000 and has been teaching for nearly 20 years total. She currently teaches biology and criminal science. In the past, she’s taught chemistry and environmental science.

“I am super excited. I think it’s a pretty neat honor,” said LaSovage. “You don’t get this far without a support system and role models.”

LaSovage said that though she doesn’t expect every single one of her students to become scientists, she likes to ensure they have transferable skills, like critical thinking.

“I like to work with them and make sure that they grow,” she said. “The bigger picture is that they’re human beings, and I want them to be great human beings when they leave.”

Buller has been teaching in the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools district for 17 years. In the past she’s won other awards, including the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.

“(Teacher of the Year) is a wonderful recognition,” said Buller. “I have been very lucky throughout my career. I work very hard and I love what I do, which makes it a lot easier to be effective in your classroom and do innovative things.”

Buller said that she really tries to facilitate her students, and she encourages them to think for themselves and to come to their own conclusions.

“You have to make it exciting — (the students) have to see your passion,” she said. “They learn to love it. When they see a teacher is passionate, it really helps them to learn to love (the subject).”

The MSTA also gave awards for the Teacher of Promise, the Administrator of the Year and the Informal Science Educator of the Year.

In all categories, teachers, educators and administrators can be nominated by their co-workers based on being an excellent science educator, doing an outstanding job in the classroom or school district, contributing to the profession by taking leadership roles within the educational community, and/or their willingness to share ideas with colleagues. For more information, visit www.msta-mich.org.