|27 Sep 2023|
|United States of America|
|2023 Finalists Global Teacher Prize|
Lacey endured a difficult and traumatic childhood, however despite the trauma she endured, Lacey graduated from high school early and went to college. A door had opened for her to enter a different life.
Today, Lacey is a highly decorated teacher who has made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of children. As the top Biology graduate in her university at bachelor’s level, she originally planned to be a doctor – but after having children, the opportunity to teach fell into her lap. Since 2007, Lacey has embraced teaching and has never looked back. The Louisiana community she teaches in is rural and is considered socioeconomically disadvantaged: school facilities are outdated and lacking compared to other schools in the district. Many families do not support higher education, instead expecting their children to pursue work throughout school and immediately afterwards. Many do not trust the education system. Lacey receives little state funding to maintain her labs, facilities and classroom supplies, so she has had to work tirelessly over the past 17 years to win more than $70,000 in grants. She has written curricula from scratch and has developed a STEM programme that has won awards at the state and national level. Recently, she built an outdoor classroom where students can learn in a different setting while building field techniques and knowledge of native flora and fauna.
Academic results have reflected Lacey’s hard work: she has the highest science ACT growth average per student in her school, and the highest post-high-school success rate for college students. Her STEM students won a national competition to work with NASA to build an experiment that is being sent into the stratosphere this summer: it will collect data on UV rays through sensors they coded and designed. Two of her students were also ranked in the Top 4 nationally by Future Engineers – one for her rendering of climate change adaptations in an aquatic species of mammal, and one for his design and construction of a Rube-Goldberg Action Contraption.
As well as being the Buckeye High School Teacher of the Year 2015-2016 and 2020-2021, Lacey was a Louisiana State Finalist for the 2023 Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching, and was named Louisiana 2023 Outstanding Earth Science Teacher by the National Association of Science Teachers. If she wins the Global Teacher Prize, Lacey will (a) create a scholarship for students to learn about climate change, (b) publish a book on Louisiana native species, (c) grow her nonprofit organisation EarthLove, (d) financially support her children to reach their educational goals, and (e) travel for her own professional development.