On Saturday, our Upper School Science Department Chair Sari Deitche was presented with the Barrett Family Foundation’s Excellence in Science and Mathematics Upper School Award during a special ceremony at the Roy M. Speer Student Center. Deitche was one of six recipients from the Tampa Bay region honored.
“It is very humbling,” said Mrs. Deitche, who is in her 14th year as a science instructor at Farragut. “I am very appreciative of how Farragut has helped me grow as a teacher. Every department has given me the support to succeed. In addition, the students have helped me develop my teaching style.”
The $10,000 award was created in 2013 to honor teachers who share a passion for teaching science and mathematics with creative and innovative methods and who cultivate student interest in these two fields. The award is focused on selecting teachers from full-time independent schools in Pinellas or Hillsborough counties with at least two years of classroom experience.
This is the second year a teacher from Farragut was honored. Last year, Thomas Ma, who teaches Advanced Placement (AP) classes in Calculus AB and BC, Pre-Calculus Honors, and Pre-Calculus Regular, was selected.
Deitche, who is the Science Department Chair, was a marine scientist at Tampa Bay Watch for seven years before becoming a teacher. While at Farragut she has taught 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, as well as Upper School sciences that include Life, Earth and Marine sciences and Biology. She credits Farragut with allowing her to develop her teaching style based on her worldly experience.
“This is a place where they allow you to teach in a way that benefits both you as an instructor and the students,” Deitche said. “When I first arrived, I was in a former English classroom with no tables for lab instruction or wash sinks. The administration quickly resolved this and created a room for me that would allow me to give the students the best education possible. I wouldn’t be successful if it weren’t for the type of teamwork that exists here.”
Today, Deitche’s room includes eight lab tables for learning and three Smart boards. In addition, there is an extension where her marine science tanks sit.
A large reason for the improvements over the years has come from Deitche’s willingness to search out educational grants, a burdensome task within itself. In the 2014-15 academic year, Deitch received the Florida Association for Water Quality Control (FAWQC) grant for the eighth consecutive year.
“Learning has to involve teaching both within and outside the classroom,” said Deitche, who is the teacher with the most FAWQC, with over $7,000 going to Farragut for science supplies over the past decade. “I am most proud of the successful students our department has helped produce.”