Educator Profile    Educators

Raisa Eady (AL '19)


Pinson Valley High School
Pinson, AL

Subject(s) taught: Science
Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

At the time of the Award, Raisa Eady was:

Pinson Valley High School
Pinson, AL

Subject(s) taught: Science
Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

Biographical Information

Biology teacher Raisa Eady’s unit on inheritance starts with an unusual assignment: Bring in a picture of your “celebrity crush.” Students at Alabama’s Pinson Valley High School determine the phenotypes and genotypes for a set of characteristics and use the picture to determine those for the celebrities. Then, using Punnett squares, they predict the appearance of the hypothetical offspring produced by a fictional mating of student and crush. Eady insists on making biology relevant to her students’ lives. She builds great rapport with her pupils and uses daily learning targets, grouping, visuals and formative assessments to engage them. Eady does not apologize for her high standards, which students are inspired to meet and exceed in the safe learning environment she creates. They trust her, know she is their advocate and will do whatever it takes to help them succeed.

Eady, the chair of Pinson Valley’s science department, serves as lead teacher for the district’s 150 science educators in grades 6-12. She mentors new teachers and is always happy to help them develop activities that promote higher-order thinking and application. Eady leads the district’s Literacy Design Collaborative Initiative and serves on the school’s ESL committee and transformation team. Eady is working to build a robust AP Biology program; the number of students taking the course and AP exam has increased over the past three years. She leads professional learning communities and professional development for the building and district and motivates her colleagues to “up their game.” At meetings with colleagues, Eady silences any negativity, meeting it with proactivity, productivity and a growth mindset.

Eady serves as a strong role model for students interested in careers in both STEM and education. She coaches the Science Olympiad and sponsors the Science National Honor Society. In 2018, Eady spent the summer working with cancer therapeutics and studying CTLA-4 expression in transgenic mice during a fellowship with Southern Research, a nonprofit biotechnology and pharmaceutical group.

Eady earned a bachelor’s in 2012 from Alabama State University and a master’s in 2018 from University of West Alabama, both in biology education.

PRESS RELEASE: Helping Students Connect With Their Celebrity Crushes Through Science Earns Teacher Raisa Eady a $25,000 Milken Educator Award

VIDEO: Raisa Eady calls her mother to share the good news

VIDEO: Raisa Eady on the importance of AP Biology to her students


Related Connections

Milestone: Raisa Eady (AL '19) Honored by AL Alliance of Black School Educators

Article: Why I Became a Teacher

Article: Science Teachers: How COVID-19 Will Change Us

Article: Spotlight: Raisa Eady (AL '19)

Educator Quote:

"Because AP Biology is a college-level curriculum, it..." (read more)

Raisa Eady In The News

LISTEN --> A Local Teacher Wins a Major Award
WERC-FM  |  iHeartRadio  |  Oct 10, 2019  |  Birmingham, AL

Pinson Valley High School Teacher Wins ‘Oscars of Teaching’ Award
Trussville Tribune  |  Oct 09, 2019  |  Trussville, AL

Pinson Valley HS Teacher Wins Milken Educator Award, $25k
WBMA-TV  |  ABC  |  Oct 09, 2019  |  Birmingham, AL

Alabama Biology Teacher Raisa Eady Wins $25,000, ‘Oscar of Education'
The Birmingham News  |  |  Oct 09, 2019  |  Birmingham, AL

WATCH --> Pinson Valley Teacher Receives Prestigious Milken Award, $25,000 Cash Prize
WIAT-TV  |  CBS  |  Oct 09, 2019  |  Birmingham, AL

WATCH --> Pinson Valley Teacher Wins Milken Educator Award for Celebrity Crush Experiment
WVTM-TV  |  NBC  |  Oct 09, 2019  |  Birmingham, AL

Pinson Valley High School Teacher Raisa Eady Wins Milken Educator Award
Birmingham Watch  |  Oct 09, 2019  |  Birmingham, AL