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Deanna Ballard of Algonquin is in her 23rd year of teaching. She teaches all types of science classes and has done so at Guilford High School for the past 10 years. Ballard has always enjoyed learning. She tries to share that love with her students. When she encounters students who “hate school,” she wonders what happened to have “made school become such a chore for this student”? “It is my belief that all people like to know things. The trick in teaching is to make them want to know what you need to teach them.” To do so, Ballard ties lessons to real world activities. “For example, we recently discussed types of friction and the pros and cons of friction in the real world. Many of my students are now driving, so they found it much more interesting to make up stories of cars and people sliding on the ice streets versus treading on gravelly roads.” Guilford principal Gus Carter recommended Ballard, writing that, “not only do her students learn the content and skills necessary to be successful in science, but they also learn about themselves as students and the confidence needed to navigate high school successfully.” Sara Nielsen, lead counselor at Guilford praised Ballard for meeting students where they are and knowing what each individual needs to succeed. She wrote, “I would be thrilled if my own children could someday have Deanna as a science teacher, as she is engaging, insightful and positive.” Ballard goes beyond just telling students to study for tests. She asks her students to reflect on how they studied, to help them realize that there are many study techniques available to help them remember information. If one method isn’t working well for that student, he/she can try another. “The message from me is always, ‘you can do this, here’s how.’” One volunteer who observed Ballard felt that her class was structured “such that the teacher could tell who the underachievers were who needed more assistance. But she was subtle, which showed both professionalism and experience.” Another observer of Ballard’s classroom was “impressed with how quiet students were and how they came in and got right to work. This is a reflection of students’ respect for the teacher and the atmosphere established.” Erin Krieg, a fellow science teacher at Guilford, shared that Ballard isn’t just talking about environmental science inside school. She “walks the walk,” using refillable water bottles at school and driving a hybrid car. “Deanna instilled in me a passion for saving the environment, just like she does with her students. Her impact on others is so powerful because it comes from the heart.” Ballard also expressed, “It is with optimism for the future that I lead my students by example, holding myself to the highest possible standards and asking them to meet me there.”