Laguna Blanca School science teacher Staci Richard is one of 20 educators in the country to receive the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship. She will leave in June and be on sabbatical from Laguna Blanca next year as she represents the teachers of America on Capitol Hill.

The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program offers educators an opportunity to serve in the national public policy arena. Eligible for the program are public or private elementary and secondary mathematics, technology and science classroom teachers with demonstrated excellence in teaching.

Launched in 1994 by the Department of Energy, the fellowship program is intended to bring to Congress and appropriate branches of the federal government the extensive knowledge and experience of classroom teachers. The fellows provide practical insights and real-world perspectives to policymakers and program managers developing or managing educational programs.

Richard’s exact assignment on Capitol Hill is yet to be determined. She might work on educational issues in a specific House or Senate member office, or she could be a fellow to one of the House or Senate committees that deal with educational policy.

Some of the contributions of Einstein Fellows have included:

» Drafting legislation and influencing policy that seek to improve K-16 education in the United States.

» Initiating collaborations and establishing partnerships among federal agencies.

» Designing and implementing national science, math and technology education programs.

» Establishing and evaluating national and regional programs centered on school reform and teacher preparation in science, mathematics and technology

Fellows offer valuable perspective in establishing and operating education programs. Fellowships increase understanding, communication and cooperation among legislative and executive branches and the science, mathematics and technology education community.

Richard earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and geology from Albion College and a master’s degree and credential in science education from UC Berkeley. She has been teaching science at Laguna Blanca since 1997.

— Tara Broucqsault is the director of communications for Laguna Blanca School.