High school teacher Rick Garrett awarded grant to study ecology in Maine

Skaneateles Education Foundation names first Jean Graham Fund award winner

Photo of Bill Danaher, President of the Skaneateles Education Foundation, Rick Garrett, Jean Graham Fund 2012 awardee, and David Graham.

Photo of Bill Danaher, President of the Skaneateles Education Foundation, Rick Garrett, Jean Graham Fund 2012 awardee, and David Graham.

— The Skaneateles Education Foundation has announced its inaugural Jean Graham Fund grant has been awarded to high school science teacher Rick Garrett. The $3,000 grant will provide funding to spend two weeks at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, to study animal behavior, field ecology and natural history.

“I am very excited and humbled to be selected as the first recipient of this award,” said Garrett, who has taught in the Skaneateles school district for 16 years and currently teaches the honors biology and ecology courses. He also has been an advisor for several successful Envirothon teams and the Environmental Club.

“I have always felt that professional development is the most important thing a teacher can do to stay inspired and current in the classroom. It is my firm belief that I am a more effective teacher if I simply continue to be an active learner,” Garrett said.

The Jean Graham Fund was established in 2011 in memory of Jean Graham, an education advocate and long time teacher in the Skaneateles Central Schools. The endowment was established to provide funding for summer learning opportunities for teachers in the district.

This is the first award since the Fund’s inception.

All of the courses Garrett teaches — Living Environment, Ecology, and AP Biology — have a strong ecology component, and summer experience in Maine will translate into a positive impact for his students through the new and creative lab activities he will design at the course, he said.

“This experience will certainly add to my instructional toolbox.” Garrett said.

“This fund in honor of Jean has the potential to impact so many teachers and students in our community,” said Sharon Magee, Executive Director of the Foundation. “We are confident that Rick’s experience at the College of the Atlantic this summer will translate into new opportunities for our students for many years to come.”

The Skaneateles Education Foundation was founded in 2009 to seek different funding sources to bridge the gap between school budgets and funds necessary to provide an exceptional public education. The foundation allows individuals, philanthropists, corporations and others the opportunity to “put their donations in a place that gets to the heart of what many believe is the key to the foundation of our community and country: our schools,” Magee said.

For more information, visit skanedfoundation.org.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. he can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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