Pictured left to right: Randy Rutherford, Executive Director for Secondary Schools; Dr. Marcus Johnson, Mann Principal; Jackie Scott, Outstanding Educator; Tiffany Dunn, former AEEA Board President; Rob Beadel, former AEEA Board President
AEEA is recognizing Jackie Scott as the 2021 Outstanding Formal Environmental Educator. A formal educator is one who works in a PreK, K-12 grades, or college level setting. Mrs. Scott teaches 6th grade Lab Science, 8th grade Physical Science teacher, and coaches soccer at Mann Magnet Middle School in Little Rock. She is a graduate of Arkansas State University receiving her BS in Interdisciplinary Studies, a Master’s in Middle School Education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and completed her M.Ed. Gifted Education K-12 online from Arkansas State University. She has taught at Mann Magnet Middle School in Little Rock School District for the past 5 year.
Mrs. Scott has been described as having a “go-getter” attitude and looks for new, interactive, and innovative ways to engage her students in environmental learning. Her approach to include each student in labs and classroom activities fosters success in each of her students. Her most recent endeavor was working with her students to create garden areas around their school. The students learned life skills while building raised bed gardens, which contain native pollinator plants, herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Mrs. Scott is able to engage other teachers and students in this project as well. The art students painted murals on the raised beds with images of native plants, animals, and nature scenes. The National Wildlife Federation recognizes their courtyard as a Certified Schoolyard Habitat.
In May 2021, Mrs. Scott was named one of two “Tree”-mendous Educators by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture Forestry Division and received a pecan tree seedling to be planted on school grounds promoting edible plants. She was also instrumental in securing a donation of handheld state-of-the-art hand-held ultrasound devices to increase student interest in STEM related careers from ArkanSONO, a technology based STEM outreach pilot program of UAMS.
In addition to her award from AEEA, Mrs. Scott was named teacher of the year for Mann Magnet School, LRSD Middle school Teacher of the Year, and a “Tree”-mendous Educator by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division.
“Environmental education is so important for so many reasons!” says Mrs. Scott. “It helps give students real world experiences. They are always asking how what they learn is relevant. Environmental education also helps level the playing field for all students. This year I have seen some of the students who typically struggle in class thrive thanks to our garden space. I’m so glad to be giving my students authentic tasks that help give them a sense of purpose and a connection to nature.”
Mrs. Scott also teaches at the Halberg Ecology Camp during the summer and is a member of multiple educational and environmental organizations including the Arkansas Environmental Education Association, National Science Teachers Association, Arkansas Science Teachers Association, Ozark Chinquapin Foundation and a DonorsChoose Ambassador. She serves as the Formal Education Representative on the Arkansas Project Learning Tree Steering Committee.
An outstanding environmental educator is an individual who has made contributions to the field of environmental and outdoor education in Arkansas through their leadership, dedication, and passion as educators benefiting children and adults. The educator influences and motivates their students, school, or community in environmental education, awareness, knowledge, and action.