Tami Lunsford is nurturing the next generation of scientists at Delaware’s Newark Charter High School (NCHS). During one project, more than 50 students in her Marine Science classes learned about sustainability and marine pollution as they transformed plastic bags into more than 5,000 sleeping mats, which they donated to local homeless shelters. Lunsford takes every opportunity to ensure that learning is an adventure: Her students travel annually to Cape Henlopen for horseshoe crab mating season and to the Marine Science Institute in Bermuda every other year. They earn among the highest AP Biology scores in the state, with a 92% pass rate last year. But more importantly, Lunsford’s students leave her classes with increased confidence and a true love of science. Many who started with her as freshmen have headed to college as science majors, including one student who took every class Lunsford teaches and earned a full college scholarship to study marine science.
Lunsford is committed to extending her students’ science education beyond the walls of her classroom. She helped the student-led Marine Science, Environmental and Feminist Clubs organize a visit from U.S. Senator Tom Carper to voice their concerns about national environmental policy; the students were then invited to Washington, D.C., to sit in on a legislative hearing focused on protecting the oceans. Lunsford coached the Marine Science Club to an eighth-place finish in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl and helped students organize a local Science March on Earth Day, an effort that landed students an interview on National Public Radio.
Newark Charter brought Lunsford in when it extended its K-8 grades to add the high school, and she has been a leader since her arrival. She helped shape the school’s science curriculum and was appointed as the school’s Faculty Team Leader to serve as a liaison with administration, plan interdisciplinary efforts and coach new teachers. A past president of the National Marine Educators Association, Lunsford is a leader in the larger science education community. As an education specialist and past Internship Coordinator for the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center, she partnered with research vessels around the world to provide marine technology internships to community college and university students. With the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, she partners with organizations like the New England Aquarium on annual workshops to train science teachers on how to integrate marine science units into curricula.
Lunsford holds a B.S. in environmental science from the University of Delaware and a master’s in marine science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) at the College of William and Mary.
Press release: Tami Lunsford is the first recipient of the Milken Educator Award in Delaware