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News Release: Texas Medical Association Award, 3/24/10

Nikki Skinner of Houston’s Almeda Elementary Selected for Ernest and Sarah Butler Award for Excellence in Science Teaching

Salt Lake City — Western Governors University graduate Nikki Skinner, a teacher at Houston's Almeda Elementary School, has been recognized for her outstanding work as a science teacher by the Texas Medical Association. Skinner, who recently completed her master’s degree in science education at WGU, has been awarded the TMA's 2010 Ernest and Sarah Butler Award for Excellence in Science Teaching. The award, which was created in 1990, rewards teachers who use innovative teaching methods to share their energy and enthusiasm for science and encourage young students to consider careers in medicine. Skinner will receive her award in April at the 2010 TexMed Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

Skinner completed her Master of Arts in Science Education at WGU earlier this year. She earned her bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Texas Southern University. Last year, she was recognized by her peers at Almeda Elementary as the school’s Teacher of the Year.

"As science teachers, we are working hard to make the subject matter meaningful and to make our students lifelong science enthusiasts,” said Skinner. “The scientists, doctors, and engineers of tomorrow are sitting in a fifth grade class today, and teachers play a critical role in helping them realize their potential. Science is not just a series of facts but an exciting process. The job of a science teacher is to teach the facts, but keep the wonder. Students learn to document their experiences in words, diagrams, and pictures of their own, creating a mosaic that has personal educational meaning for each of them."

Western Governors University’s Teachers College has more than 9,000 students, and its science and mathematics education programs are nationally recognized for their quality. WGU graduates consistently excel on national teacher exams—more than 30 percent rank in the top 15 percent on the PRAXIS Elementary Education Exam. WGU’s Teachers College is the first and only exclusively online provider of teacher education to earn accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. (NCATE). For more information, go to, or call 1.866.225.5948.

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