Another Award Winner in Suffield Schools

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Science Curriculum Leader Steven Autieri works with Kristin Johnson in the SHS library considering books for the school’s use.

Photo by Lester Smith

Science Curriculum Leader Steven Autieri works with Kristin Johnson in the SHS library considering books for the school’s use.

With seven years of experience teaching science, Steven Autieri came to Suffield at the start of this school year and is now the science curriculum leader for grades 6 – 12 of the Suffield Public School System. He has become well respected in his work here. Now it’s been announced that he was selected to receive the Robert E. Yager Excellence in Teaching Award by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) for his previous achievements as a science teacher elsewhere. With Carl Casinghino’s award for teaching video several months ago, this is the second major award winner this school year.

Along with his plaque and a $1,000 award, Autieri also gets travel expenses to attend the NSTA National Congress on Science Education in Buffalo this month. He will deliver a paper there that he calls, “Science, Technology and Society in the 21st Century,” describing his instructional strategy for encouraging students to study the political and social implications of science. Autieri is the Yager Award winner for the Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island district of NSTA; one of the six district winners will be given additional support to attend and present to the National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles this summer.

Autieri grew up in Coventry, R. I., earning the Boy Scout Eagle Award there and serving as a volunteer fire fighter for 13 years – advancing from cadet to lieutenant. He got his bachelor’s degree in biology at Keene State College in N. H. and has earned three master’s degrees since, one in microbial genetics, and two in education.

He taught for six years at East Haven High School, where a team of his students won first prize in the Connecticut Innovation and Invention Expo for their proposed anti-icing road treatment – a mix of Barn Grip (lime and sand), red beet juice, and cheese brine – intended to be environmentally less offensive than Ice Melt. Following East Haven, he taught for one year in Conway, S. C., before discovering the Suffield job opportunity at a time when a return north seemed right for the family.

Autieri and his wife now live in Vernon with their son and daughter. In the Suffield schools, he devotes time both to helping as an instruction coach and supporter and to working on curriculum content. He feels the Suffield teachers are looking to transform how science is taught and are on the cutting edge of change. With their help he’s working to build a spirit of inquiry into the science classes. In general, he says, “I love it here.”

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