Rio Rico Teacher Wins Prize for Chemistry Teaching

Lori Stiles
Feb. 23, 2001

The Southern Arizona Section of the American Chemical Society (SASACS) has selected Teressa Potter as winner of its 2000 High School Chemistry Teaching Award. Potter is chemistry, anatomy and physiology teacher, as well as Science Department chair, at Rio Rico High School in Rio Rico, Ariz.

The prize, which is sponsored by the Research Corp. of Tucson, includes a $1,000 cash prize. Half of the cash award goes to the award recipient and half goes to her school in support of her teaching efforts.

The award will be presented Monday, Feb. 26, at the annual SASACS awards reception to be held at the Flandrau Science Center on the University of Arizona campus. The 6 p.m. reception will be in the Galaxy Room, with awards to be presented at 7.

"We believe Ms. Potter exemplifies those qualities that define the hallmark of educational excellence that this award is meant to recognize," said Steven L. Brown of the UA chemistry department, SASACS chairman. "Our congratulations go out to her, and our thanks go to all those who brought her achievements to our attention."

Potter, who has taught chemistry at Rio Rico High since the school's inception in 1994, "began with virtually nothing, but through hard work and determination, she has successfully built a highly respected program," Brown said.

Under Potter's tutelage, the Rio Rico Science Club, raised more than $12,000 to purchase computers and other equipment for the school's chemistry classroom. Potter is also known for her innovative teaching approach and her publications and presentations on improved teaching, he added.

"But perhaps most important is her ability to motivate her students to be the best they can be," Brown said.

A former student said, " Mrs. Potter is a great mentor, motivator and an inspiration to her students. She takes the extra step to ensure that each student succeeds and more importantly, gains valuable information from her teachings. I truly feel that without the help and challenge that Mrs. Potter continually gave me, and still gives me, I would not have discovered myself in the direction that I must go. She - made me believe in myself."

With over 161,000 members, the American Chemical Society is the largest professional scientific organization in the world. Among its objectives, the ACS seeks to promote public perception and understanding of chemistry and the chemical sciences through public outreach programs and public awareness campaigns.

The more than 500 members of the Southern Arizona Section addresses this objective with the SASACS High School Teaching Award. Nominees are solicited from all over southern Arizona. Past winners include Brenda Wolpa of Canada del Oro High School and Ann Marie Condes of Catalina Foothills High School.

For more information on the American Chemical Society, the Southern Arizona Section, or the SASACS High School Teaching Award, contact Steven Brown, Chair, 621-9980,


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