2020 STAT Statewide Award Winners

Award Winners

Outstanding Science Teacher of the Year Awards

The Outstanding Science Teacher of the Year Awards recognize excellence in science teaching in Texas public, private, or charter schools and are presented annually.

2020 Rookie Science Teacher of the Year

Cheyenne Hunter
Richardson ISD

Cheyenne Hunter, also known as the dancing and singing science teacher, teaches sixth-grade science at O. Henry Elementary School in Richardson ISD. She holds a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University-Commerce, where she specialized in science and mathematics. Her peers describe her as someone who is diverse and inclusive and strives to make every learner in her classroom feel like a distinguished scientist. She goes the extra mile to encourage curiosity when presented with challenges, explore creativity with a hands-on approach, and have the courage to ask questions about how science applies to everyday life. In her first year, Cheyenne hosted the campus science fair and was nominated for New Teacher of the Year for her impact on her campus, among other attributes. Entering her second year of teaching, Cheyenne hopes to pursue a master's degree in the spring, continue to make connections with students despite current circumstances and bring science to life now more than ever.


2020 Middle School Science Teacher of the Year

Rebecca Rolater, M.Ed.
Clear Creek ISD

Rebecca Rolater works in Clear Creek ISD as the Science Magnet Liaison for Seabrook Intermediate. In this role, she oversees the Science Magnet program, facilitates growth among students ranging in grades 6–8 and creates unique STEM experiences for students in the program. Prior to this position, she taught eighth-grade science and integrated physics and chemistry for 6 years in Pearland ISD. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas State University and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in Science Education from the University of Texas at Arlington. Rebecca was awarded as a district new teacher of the year for the secondary level in 2015 and was awarded as a campus teacher of the year in 2020. She has also served as a team lead, department chair, mentor, creator, and facilitator of several student clubs.

Rebecca is deeply passionate about helping teachers expand their toolkit so they can best help students reach their maximum potential. She has created and presented on professional development since 2016 and has had the pleasure to present for various districts around Houston as well as at the state level in 2018 and 2019 at CAST. Rebecca strives to create engaging lessons and projects that connect to the real world and encourage students to think outside of the box. She firmly believes that true education happens when you take time to learn about your students as individuals and not as just test scores. When students feel supported by educators, that is when they are able to shine.


Distinguished Leadership in Science Administrator Award

The Distinguished Leadership in Science Award, presented annually, recognizes outstanding support of science education at the district or state level by a non-teaching administrator in early childhood through grade 12.

2020 Distinguished Leadership in Science Administrator

Lisa Baum
Holland ISD

Lisa Baum is a Curriculum, Instruction and Technology Specialist at Holland ISD. She has been a teacher, an elementary science coordinator, an assistant principal and a principal in Hays CISD, Fort Bend ISD, and Rosebud-Lott ISD during her 24 years in education. She earned a Doctorate in Education Leadership from Walden University with a research focus on teacher instructional methods, teacher professional development, and student achievement.

For students to do their best in the classrooms, teachers must be supported with all the resources they need to be successful in the classroom, including professional development, lesson support, and supplies. She supports teachers with developing age-appropriate lessons that relate science and technology to the everyday and diverse lives of students based on students' needs, interests, and abilities. 

Lisa has served on the TEA Science TEKS Writing Committee, the TEA State Science Textbook Adoption Committee, and other committees for TEA. She loves to provide professional development to science teachers at her campus and district and enjoyed being able to present at CAST. She believes that professional development and campus leadership are the two factors that create a science program that excels in student achievement.

Lisa has been married for 20 years to her husband, Dan, and has two sons and two daughters: Jacob (18) in the U.S. Navy, Asher (9 months), Kaitlyn (15), and Madeline (11). During her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family camping and at the beach.


Gerald Skoog Cup for Outstanding Leadership in Science Teacher Education

The Skoog Cup College Faculty Award is presented to a faculty or staff member at a Texas college or university who has demonstrated significant contributions to and leadership in the development of quality science education. 

2020 Gerald Skoog Cup for Outstanding Leadership in Science Teacher Education Recipient

Dr. Ratna Narayan
University of North Texas at Dallas

Dr. Ratna Narayan is the Associate Professor of Science Education at the University of North Texas at Dallas. Her goal as a science educator is for her students to appreciate and love science as much as she does, develop into very effective science teachers, and make a difference in their own students' lives. She believes it is incumbent on her to present her students with meaningful, positive science learning experiences that help them perceive science as being an integral part of their lives, something that everybody can participate in. She really enjoys motivating her students, always pushing them to do better and set and reach higher goals. Teaching in South Dallas, she is committed to the development of science teachers in neighboring school districts and partners with DeSoto, Lancaster, Cedar Hill, Irving, and Grand Prairie ISDs on the Wipro Science Education Fellowship grant and other similar projects. Dr. Narayan is passionate about the integration of informal science experiences in formal science education and has developed projects for her undergraduates, graduates, and Wipro Fellows, partnering with many informal science sites in and around the metropolis. Dr. Narayan also enjoys traveling, photography, and watching the brown bears on Explore.