Sharon Milito, a fourth grade teacher at Patrick Henry Elementary School in Colorado Springs, Colo., has been named the 2011 AAPG Earth Science Teacher of the Year.
AAPG’s TOTY award, funded annually by the AAPG Foundation, is a $5,000 prize that will be split into two parts: half is designated for Milito’s personal use, and half goes to Patrick Henry Elementary School for educational use under Milito’s supervision.
Milito said her teaching philosophy is based on the “Constructivist Learning Theory, which holds that children construct their own understanding through their experiences with the world around them.”
Milito, introduced to geology by her grandfather, an amateur geologist, received a master’s degree in teaching integrated natural science in 2005 from Colorado College in Colorado Springs.
Milito was nominated by the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists. Nominees praised her method of using “hands-on experiences, which relate to (the students’) own understanding of the real-world, enhanced by outdoor activities and numerous field trips” to nearby Red Rock Canyon and the Paint Mines.”
She also will receive an all-expense paid trip to the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in Houston on April 10-13, where she will be presented with her award at the All-Convention Luncheon.
An interview with Milito will be featured in the April convention issue of the EXPLORER.