June 18, 2021
Curriculum leader selected for Science Education Award
An Upper St. Clair teacher has been named the K-8 Science Education Award winner from the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh (SSP). Pam Dillie, a third-grade teacher at Baker Elementary and the district’s elementary science curriculum leader, was selected from among eight nominations.
“Teachers have one of the most difficult jobs of shaping and often changing the lives of their students,” Megan Melucci, SSP K-8 committee chair, said. “This award was designed to recognize those outstanding science teachers in the K-8 levels.”
Mrs. Dillie was nominated for the honor by Dr. Patrick McClintock-Comeaux, Baker Elementary principal.
“Pam has worked tirelessly this past year to make science class come alive for both in-person and remote students,” Dr. McClintock-Comeaux said. “Her enthusiasm and willingness to do crazy things in the name of engaging learners inspires her colleagues. Her work as a teacher and curriculum leader has helped all of the elementary students across the district find a passion for learning despite the year’s challenges.”
A National Board Certified Teacher, Mrs. Dillie has 34 years of teaching experience in the elementary and middle school levels. She completed her undergraduate degree at California State College, her master’s equivalency from the University of Pittsburgh and her master’s degree from Duquesne University.
“The 2020-2021 school year has clearly been the most challenging year of my teaching career,” Mrs. Dillie said. “But it has also been one of the most rewarding. I am proud of the efforts of our school district, our staff and our community in these challenging times.”
One of the many 2020-21 initiatives was the addition of 16 Wacky Wednesday science videos/lessons that featured hands-on experiments that could be completed at home. Topics included Diet Coke & Mentos, why leaves change color, fire safety and more. Students were encouraged to post a picture/video of their experiment on a PADLET board that could be viewed by other students and families in the district.
“My most rewarding moment came in viewing the PADLET posts from our first Wacky Wednesday lesson, Diet Coke & Mentos,” Mrs. Dillie said. “When I saw the over 100 pictures and videos posted of smiling faces having fun experiencing science, I knew we could do this. I knew that no matter how tough the year would get, and how bad the pandemic would become, that we would get through this okay.”
Mrs. Dillie praised students and families for their adaptability and resilience throughout the last school year.
“Our students and families did such a fabulous job this school year,” Mrs. Dillie added. “Starting in August not knowing whether we would be in our brick and mortar building, to hybrid A/B, to remote learning, to wearing masks, to learning behind shields and, finally, to successfully completing our school year – their resilient has been so impressive!”
Mrs. Dillie and her husband, Doug, reside in Upper St. Clair Township. They have two adult sons, Brent and Scott.
The Excellence in Science Teaching Awards program is open to Pennsylvania-certified science teachers in kindergarten through grade eight within schools in Allegheny County and its surrounding counties. Honorees receive a plaque and monetary award.