Dusty Carroll, a science teacher at Seneca High School, has been named the the district’s 2018–2019 Teacher of the Year.
Dusty Carroll, a science teacher at Seneca High School, has been named the 2018–19 Lenape Regional High School District (LRHSD) Teacher of the Year and is currently under consideration for the Burlington County Teacher of the Year.
She began her tenure at Seneca in 2004 and has since taught Chemistry and AP Chemistry, Environmental Sustainability, Physical Science and Engineering Design and Development –a capstone course that is part of the Project Lead the Way program.
Carroll has developed a reputation as a demanding teacher, yet one who provides a comfortable environment for her students to take risks and learn as a result of their mistakes.
“I have a great relationship with my students, and I work hard to develop new ways of making them think,” she said. “My entire focus is on ensuring that the students are constantly challenged, and everything I do relates to that goal.”
Seneca High School Assistant Principal and Science Supervisor Dave Maier said that Carroll’s teaching style has a positive impact on student learning outcomes.
“Dusty provides learning opportunities that allow her students to master abstract science,” he said. “She always seems to know the right question to ask her students at exactly the right time to facilitate their learning.”
Carroll said that she gives careful consideration to attracting and holding student interest and attention in today’s digital world. She works to incorporate technology into the classroom in creative ways and learn innovative approaches from her peers in science education.
“The best ways I have found to keep current in both my scientific knowledge and my pedagogical ‘bag of tricks’ are to read journals and blogs from reputable educational -organizations and to keep in close contact with other educators, both informally and formally through various professional organizations,” she said. “Teachers must evolve with the current generation of students if they are to successfully teach them.”
Carroll is a member of the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT), for which she conducts peer reviews of lessons and potential journal articles; the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA); and the New Jersey Science Teachers Association (NJSTA), for which she is first vice president and high school section chair. She has also been published in The Science Teacher, a journal of the NSTA, and Chemistry Solutions, a journal of the AACT.
“Great educators are informal leaders, student-centered, passionate and lifelong learners,” Maier said. “As a consummate professional, Dusty exhibits all of these qualities, which make her a valuable asset to our students and our staff at Seneca and throughout the district.”
In addition to teaching at Seneca, Carroll is the STEM club advisor. She has also coached gymnastics and spring track.
Carroll previously worked as a track coach at Cherry Hill High School West, and that experience helped her realize a passion for teaching. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the College of New Jersey, she chose to pursue a career as a science teacher and went on to earn a master’s in Chemistry Education from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked at Cherry Hill High School West for five years before joining the LRHSD at Seneca.
“We are lucky to have Dusty as part of our science teaching staff because of her ability to not only connect with students, but also with her peers to share best practices. She strengthens our district’s culture of collaboration, which helps ensure that our students receive an education of the highest quality,” Superintendent Carol Birnbohm said. “In addition to helping our students learn the material, Dusty’s approach to teaching also fully engages students in the sciences, which is a critical first step in funneling bright, young minds into thriving STEM careers and putting our students on a path to success.”
Carroll resides in Marlton with her husband Tim.