DeRamus named 2020 Outstanding Biology Teacher for Alabama

Published 4:34 pm Friday, June 26, 2020

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ALABASTER — The National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), in conjunction with Carolina Biological Supply Company, has named Nerissa DeRamus as the 2020 Outstanding Biology Teacher Award for the state of Alabama.


This honor, given annually since 1961, identifies a teacher from each of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, other U.S. territories and Canada who have made invaluable contributions to the profession and have enhanced the learning of biology. Criteria for the award include teaching ability, experience, innovation, initiative, positive student-teacher interactions and cooperativeness in the school and community.

DeRamus teaches Pre-AP and AP biology at Thompson High School in Alabaster. She received her Bachelor of Science and Masters of Art in teaching from the University of West Alabama. After earning her master’s degree, she continued her education at the University of Alabama where she earned an education specialist degree.

DeRamus’ teaching career spans 18 years. Her teaching career began at Choctaw County High School in Butler, Alabama, where she taught for seven years. She then took a position at Northridge High School in Tuscaloosa for four additional years. After leaving Tuscaloosa, DeRamus took a teaching position at Thompson, where she is adored by her students as well as fellow faculty members and the administration.

“l was elated to hear the news of this award,” said THS Principal Wesley Hester. “Wow, Nerissa is so very deserving of this tremendous honor, and I am extremely proud of her!”

DeRamus is a veteran teacher who values professional learning and has continued to update and revise her skills throughout her career. The extensive list of learning opportunities that DeRamus has seized provides clear evidence of her commitment to continued improvement in the classroom. She has served as an A+ College Ready Advanced Placement Biology Saturday Session Instructor, providing instruction to students as they prepared to take the AP biology exam. In addition, DeRamus was a key member of the educator team that wrote “The Biology Compendium: A Field Guide to the Alabama Standards,” a document created in response to the adoption of new science standards in 2015. Teachers throughout the state of Alabama have utilized this tool to guide instructional planning.

DeRamus believes that building individual relationships with her students is crucial to building a culture that will lead to maximum student achievement. Entering her classroom reveals a student-centered classroom in which students are held accountable for their own learning, with her facilitating the process. She takes the responsibility of being a minority educator seriously and finds it incredibly important to inspire students of all ethnicities to pursue opportunities in STEM-related fields. The state of Alabama is fortunate to have such a committed educator and it is an absolute pleasure to honor her with this esteemed award.

A special presentation will be given by the National Association of Biology Teachers at its national conference in Baltimore, Maryland in November 2020. In addition to the certificates awarded, DeRamus will be presented with a gift certificate from Carolina Biological Supply Company, and a year’s complimentary membership in NABT.

The National Association of Biology Teachers and the Alabama Biology & Life Science Educators are extremely proud to recognize the contributions made by DeRamus.

“This award should make not only her school and school district proud but should be recognized and celebrated statewide. She is an incredibly valuable and priceless member of the education community in Alabama who strives to continue to grow professionally and is committed to meet the needs of each of her students. It is truly a pleasure to announce the well-deserved recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Biology Teacher Award for Alabama, Mrs. Nerissa Deramus,” Jennifer Hutchison, OBTA Director for Alabama, said.