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At the start of this school year, I embraced the motto, Be Inspired. I hope that throughout the year, you also had the time and opportunity to live this motto, whether it was through inspiring others or yourself. This year, AACT has been a source of inspiration and professional growth for so many of us, including me — from exciting webinars, and articles to new and unique lesson ideas, all contributed by our members.

A year in review

I have attended almost all 20 webinars so far this year and, while I missed a few, I was happy to be able to listen to the archived versions available for members. On behalf of the organization, I would like to thank the terrific volunteers who willingly shared these fabulous presentations. We appreciate your hard work and commitment to the teaching community. The valuable information you shared has motivated me to rethink what I do in the classroom and share my own knowledge with others, and has also inspired me to investigate new ideas.

Additionally, I would like to thank all of the members who contributed teaching resources and articles this year. Without your contributions, our membership wouldn’t be as valuable as it is today. With a collection of over 150 Chemistry Solutions articles to indulge in, and more than 700 classroom resources to investigate, I continuously find new and unique ideas, labs, and activities to engage my students and help me continue to grow as a teacher.

The tireless efforts of the volunteers who make up both our Nominations and Awards Committee and our Regional Representatives have made a great impact this year as well, and made our wonderful organization even better. Similarly, it has been a pleasure to work with and lead the fantastic volunteers who make up the 2018-19 Governing Board. Their hard work, as well as the commitment from AACT staff, have combined to make valuable progress this year.

Most importantly, I would like to give a big round of applause and express my sincere thanks to all of the members of AACT. Without your commitment, AACT wouldn’t be the valuable organization that it is today. You make me, and many other chemistry educators, feel as if we are part of a family. I am so proud to have had the opportunity to act as the head of this family for this past year. I am constantly amazed by all of the wonderful contributions and the support that is expressed by the members. I appreciate each of you, and feel honored to be a part of this organization with you. You have inspired me to become a better chemistry teacher.

During the past year, President-Elect Heather Weck has led our regional representatives in actively promoting and sharing about AACT with the teaching community. Many of these representatives presented at local area conferences on behalf of AACT. I look forward to the continued growth of these regional engagement efforts, and hope that more AACT members will also present at or host gatherings to continue to grow this impressive family. Every member has valuable knowledge and experience that is beneficial to share and inspire fellow educators in our community. If you’re interested in getting involved, please let us know!

Sherri prepares materials for a workshop at the ACS National Meeting. Photo credit: Sally Mitchell

During my tenure as president, I had the privilege to represent AACT at a number of events, including several state conferences, NSTA area conferences, the 2018 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education (BCCE), as well as local, regional, and national ACS meetings. I love meeting so many members at these events, and hope I will continue to meet many more members at future gatherings. The opportunity to make in-person connections is my favorite part of these events. I hope that we can continue these networking opportunities virtually through use of the AACT discussion board and social media. I am hopeful that one day, there may be an AACT conference where we have the opportunity to get together!

Looking forward

In July, the 2019-20 AACT Governing Board will meet in Washington, D.C. to plan for another great year of events. I would like to congratulate the soon-to-be president, Heather Weck. Heather has done a wonderful job in her role as President-Elect, and I am confident we will be in good hands with her leadership. I would also like to thank Jenelle Ball, whose role in the 3-year presidential succession is concluding. Her great leadership has been a huge asset for AACT, especially during our early years of growth and development. I know she will continue to be a great contributor and supporter of AACT.

I would also like to congratulate and welcome our newly-elected members to the Governing Board: President-Elect Jesse Bernstein, and Committee Representative Susan Dietrich. Congratulations as well to our three grade-level Ambassadors: High School Ambassador Lindsay Davis, Middle School Ambassador Laura Celik (returning for a second term), and Elementary School Ambassador Susan Bickel. I look forward to the ideas that will be explored by these new members, and the bright future that is in store for AACT.

AACT has many exciting events this summer. Both members and staff will be presenting workshops and hosting exhibits at numerous conferences and gatherings across the country. You can attend more than 15 sessions presented by AACT at ChemEd 2019 in Naperville, Illinois, July 21-25. This wonderful event is near and dear to my heart, as I have been a member of its planning committee. It will showcase more than 250 workshops and presentations, and I know it will be exceptional!

Additionally, AACT will have a presence at the ACS national meeting in San Diego, August 25-29. A highlight of the teacher program will be a presentation from AACT charter member and veteran chemistry teacher, Steve Sogo, who will present about engineering in the chemistry classroom. The national meeting will include two days of teacher programming designed for high school chemistry teachers to get inspired, learn new ideas, and network with other educators who share the love for chemistry education. I am excited to attend and present at both of these events, and would love to meet you if you are there as well!

Recharge with your member benefits

As the school year comes to a close, we teachers are ready for a break. For me, the summer is a time to recharge my batteries and follow up on the many things I either earmarked or added to my constantly growing to-do list. Often this recharging includes catching up on recently-published journal articles, and thinking about possible changes to some of my lessons.

Summer break is also a great time to take a closer look at all the great member benefits available at teachchemistry.org. The collection of AACT webinars has reached nearly 100 to date. These are all available in the archives for members to view as their schedule allows, and certificates of participation are available to use for professional growth plans or recertification credits.

Additionally, our quarterly periodical, Chemistry Solutions, has five complete volumes of fantastic articles. Since these articles are written by teachers, for teachers, you can be sure to find practical advice, lesson ideas, and tips for use in your classroom in every issue. I encourage you to review some past articles, as well as the newly-published May issue, where you’ll find exciting new content, including:

In addition to these articles, there are accompanying classroom resources that are ready to use with your own students. They join the 700+ existing resources in the classroom resource library.

Perhaps, after this hectic school year comes to a close, you will have the time to act on your inspiration and get more involved in AACT. Do you have a resource to share? Is there a topic about teaching chemistry you are passionate about? AACT would love to work with you! The summer break is a great time to work with the editorial staff of Chemistry Solutions or submit a contribution to the resource library. Let us know how you would like to get involved.

AACT is a great organization, made up by a community of great educators! I have been inspired by so many of you, and am sincerely thankful to be a part of this passionate group. I look forward to many more great years as we grow bigger and better! It has been an honor to serve as the president of AACT this year. I believe and know that our future is bright! I thank everyone for their support, and give best wishes to our future leaders!

Sherri RukesSherri Rukes
President, AACT Governing Board

Photo credit:
(article cover) Sally Mitchell