Faculty: Renee Andrews to Receive Governor’s Shine Award

October 9, 2017

“I want my students to be lifelong learners of science and other subjects, and to be thoughtful, contributing members of society.”  That might be one of the reasons why Renee Andrews, Marine and Environmental Science teacher at P.K. Yonge, will be awarded the Governor’s Shine Award on Tuesday, October 17th.

A teacher for 27 years, 16 at P.K. Yonge, Renee, also P.K. Yonge’s teacher of the year, is a firm believer that successful teachers must know and be passionate about their subject, but first and foremost, they must know and love their students.

Originally contemplating Ph.D. and a future in research, Renee was convinced by her advisor at Duke University to do an independent study that involved teaching environmental science at an inner city high school in Durham. Though initially intimidated, Renee was, in her words “hooked” and has continued on the path of making science come alive to students ever since.

The school-based teaching experience in Durham resonated so well with Renee because she found students who lacked confidence but had so much potential. What she saw was a group of students who needed to be inspired and offered activities that were relevant and interesting to them. Her solution: to take them outside to a little creek that ran through the campus and actually “do science.”

Renee Andrews continues to “do science” with students, whenever, wherever, and however she can – whether it’s using the Tumblin Creek at P.K. Yonge, going to Seahorse Key, or researching marine life in the Florida Keys.  She is inspired by the hurdles – making science accessible to all kinds of students – boys, girls, minorities, non-geeks, math-phobics, you name it. What keeps her coming back year after year? The “Eureka!” moments – when it all comes together.

Video – Marine Science Travels to Seahorse Key

Love and passion for her subject, loving students, “doing science,” and being an avid participant in Teacher Inquiry action research at P.K. Yonge makes Renee Andrews a great candidate for the Governor’s Shine Award, which recognizes educators and administrators in Florida who make significant contributions to the field of education. This program spotlights the state’s teachers of the year and other outstanding teachers and administrators.

Renee’s definition of success? Of course, graduates in many places who have chosen science-related fields for their career paths, but also graduates for whom science is still relevant to their lives – appreciating what they learned in class and still learning because they’ve developed a passion for the world around them.


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