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Boise State Writing Project Fellows Rise to the Top

By: Kathleen Tuck   Published 6:43 am / February 16, 2017

Three Boise State Writing Project fellows have won national top teaching awards in the last year.

Sonia Galaviz was recently tapped to receive the National Education Association Foundation’s Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence. She joins Ramey Uriarte who won the Presidential Math Excellence in Teaching Award last May, and Micah Lauer, who won the Presidential Science Excellence in Teaching Award this past fall.

“Teachers generally toil in anonymity, and it is a refreshing surprise when a teacher of high quality and dedication is recognized for their superlative work,” said Jeffrey Wilhelm, founding director of the Boise State Writing Project. “The Boise State Writing Project runs on the premise that expertise about teaching and the authority of teaching practice resides with teachers. Sonia, Ramey and Micah demonstrate this expertise.”

Portrait of Sonia Galaviz

Sonia Galaviz

Galaviz, who teaches fifth grade at Garfield Elementary School in Boise, was one of five national finalists for the NEA award, which included a $25,000 prize. She is a teacher co-director in BSWP’s Science Literacy fellowship program and part of an NSF science, technology, engineering and math group that is working to promote STEM identity for underserved Idaho youth. Galaviz is currently enrolled in the Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction program at Boise State, where she also earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Portrait of Micah Lauer

Micah Lauer

Lauer, a teacher at Heritage Middle School in Meridian, was named as a recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award by the National Science Teachers Association. Lauer is helping to lead BSWP’s science literacy initiative and runs the summer science workshop series for teachers. The NSTA awards are designed to recognize K-12 classroom teachers who have made extraordinary contributions to the field of science teaching. Lauer is a teacher leader in the BSWP science initiative and NSF SMART and INCLUDES work.

Portrait of Ramey Uriarte

Ramey Uriarte

Uriarte, a Boise School District math coach who also worked at Heritage Middle School, received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching (PAEMST) in 2015. The honor included a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. Uriarte is the teacher-director of the BSWP math initiative to promote teaching for deep mathematical understanding and application. Uriarte earned his bachelor’s degree from Boise State, and a master’s  from Idaho State.

“These three are expert teachers and thinking partners for other Idaho teachers who are working to develop more engaging instruction that leads to deep student engagement and understanding, and that meets next generation standards and the standards of real world application,” Wilhelm said.

A fourth fellow, Karen Miller, has been nominated for the Presidential teaching award for this coming year.  If she is selected, it will mean that all four members of the BSWP science and math leadership team have received a national award.