Johnstown High School
Johnstown, New York
Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Heather Buskirk became interested in science during middle school. Her parents supported and cultivated her passion and after graduating from high school, she enrolled at the University of Virginia to study astronomy-physics. Originally intent on becoming an astrophysicist, Heather learned she was much more passionate about sharing science with others than working as a researcher. She graduated from UVA in 2005 with a joint Bachelor of Arts in astronomy-physics and Master of Arts in science teaching.
Heather moved to upstate New York and began her career teaching three levels of physics at Johnstown High School. She achieved National Board Certification in 2010 and started a candidate support group for colleagues in her region. She served on the committee to revise the National Board Standards for accomplished science teachers. In 2013, she co-founded the Learning Project, a half-day program for seniors in the Johnstown School District, which integrates physics, math, english, and social studies through project-based learning. In addition to teaching, she serves as an instructional coach for HFM PTech, a new career focused school in her community.
Heather continues to advocate for science education. As a New York State Master Teacher, she served on the Teach NY advisory council for the State University of New York. She has collaborated with colleagues to provide professional development in project-based learning, using inquiry in the science classroom, differentiated instruction, engineering design, and the Patterns Approach to Physics. Heather credits KSTF for supporting her during her beginning years teaching and providing opportunities and encouragement to step beyond her classroom.