Position: Biology Teacher
School: Tanque Verde High School
School District: Tanque Verde
City, State: Tucson , Arizona
About the Nominee: Amanda Barth was nominated by a friend, Mel Blumenthal. Mel states that after sitting in on one of Ms. Barth's classes in which her students were giving presentations, she knew she had to nominate her as a LifeChanger. Ms. Barth is a brilliant scientist, but what makes her truly remarkable is the way in which she is able to transmit her vast knowledge in the area of biology to her students and instill a passion for learning in them. She consistently goes above and beyond normal expectations in her lesson planning and constantly strives to create labs and activities that foster both group and individual learning, as well as a deep appreciation of the subject matter. She organizes classroom outings that facilitate community-based learning in order to enhance her students' knowledge base. Ms. Barth is also incredibly adept at building bridges with members of the local science community in order to give her students better access to different learning platforms. Her devotion and dedication to her students is inspiring and she will often sacrifice her personal time in order to ensure that she is giving them the absolute best possible learning opportunities.
In the classroom, Ms. Barth has an incredible aptitude to turn any moment into a teaching moment. Throughout the student presentations, Mel witnessed how Ms. Barth flawlessly guided her students through their research and was able to speak intelligently and add information to every single research project. There was not one subject she did not demonstrate an advanced working knowledge of! This alone sets her apart from many of her peers, but what is most commendable is how she is able to challenge her students and get them to think through concepts in order to more firmly instill scientific methodology and critical thinking. According to Mel, it's a pleasure to watch her in action in her classroom as she orchestrates the learning process.
Aside from being an exceptional teacher, Ms. Barth has also established herself as an advocate for her students. She is the facilitator for the LGBTQ student group on campus, and many students have identified her as the one teacher they can turn to for help and counsel. It's rare to see a group of high school students request to be able to eat lunch in a teacher's room, but that's what commonly happens with Ms. Barth. She has created a learning environment in her classroom that is not only a safe, inclusive space, but one that is conducive for all students to learn and grow, irrespective of identity. She is a true learning community facilitator and an exceptional educator. Ms. Barth exemplifies the very best of what teaching can and should be!