Paulding County High School — Dallas, Georgia
Marc Pedersen teaches “to inspire and empower children.” The former professional biologist brings years of valuable field experience to the classroom. He has worked with some of the rarest species on earth and in some of the most remote ecosystems known to exist.
As a result, he believes in “engaging my students in authentic, hands-on learning opportunities that investigate real problems.” He encourages his students to think creatively, to practice persistence and to embrace failure as an essential part of the scientific process.
Mr. Pedersen is currently collaborating with outside agencies and post-secondary institutions to design a project-based learning activity for his students that will provide students with an authentic learning experience with real-world applications.
In collaboration with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, Cornell University, and Kennesaw State University, students will use environmental DNA to monitor populations of endangered and threatened species located within a local watershed in the metro-Atlanta area. They will study the biodiversity and environmental significance of this prominent waterway.
Robin Davis, assistant principal of Paulding County High School praises Mr. Pederson’s approach saying, “He is always looking for new and innovative ways to bring the curriculum ‘alive’ for his students. He constantly wants to improve and expand on what he does and to provide his students with the best opportunities for learning that are honestly found nowhere else in this school district.”
Mr. Pedersen recently received the Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the nation’s highest honor in science teaching given by the White House and the National Science Foundation. He also received the 2016 National BioGENEius Mentor Award, sponsored by the Biotechnology Institute in Washington, D.C. He has also published articles in many scientific journals received research grants from the STEM Forum, the Georgia Foundation for Public Education and the Georgia Science Teachers Association.
Mr. Pedersen received his Bachelor of Science degree in science education from Indiana University and his masters in biology from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
NSHSS is pleased to highlight our 2016-2017 Claes Nobel Educators of the Year, presented to ten exemplary educators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to preparing students for success in college and in life. These ten educators are among NSHSS’s student-nominated Claes Nobel Educators of Distinction, a program that recognizes educators who model best practices in teaching, are a positive influence for students and peers, and demonstrate outstanding leadership in education and community engagement. Since the inception of the Educators of Distinction program in 2004, NSHSS has recognized more than 45,000 educators worldwide.