LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Lafayette High School science teacher in Lexington was selected as a Kentucky finalist in the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) drawing attention to a teacher who is not afraid to stand out.
Fayette County Public Schools announced Laurel Regnier's finalist status explaining that "the PAEMST honors teachers who have deep content knowledge of their subjects and the ability to motivate and enable students to succeed. The National Science Foundation administers the program on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy."
"It's an honor when any of our teachers are nominated for awards at both the state and national levels. She is a very deserving candidate," Lafayette High School Principal David Scholl said.
One of Regnier's former students came back as a senior to be an aid in her classroom. He said he had his fingers crossed he would be chosen to work with her during his final year.
"You come in here and it's just always -- she just makes you feel welcome. She's nice and just outgoing and hilarious to everybody. You come in here you really feel like you have a very different experience than a lot of other teachers provide."
"She just knows how to connect with them. She's not afraid to wear a crazy hat singer crazy song or have a class hamster as a pet. So, she is a special teacher with a special gift of just reaching her students," explained Scholl. "We're lucky to have her here and she does a great job every day for us."
Regnier said her teaching style takes a creative approach daily
"Sometimes I just like to be a little quirky and it just catches my students off guard a little bit and makes them like take a second look and, you know, to see, 'What what's going on here? Maybe I need to pay attention to this.' So, it really works," Regnier explained.
"This is a teacher that just lives and breathes the things that she teaches. She absolutely loves this," said Lewis. "If I didn't have her as a teacher I probably wouldn't have gotten through chemistry. Now I love chemistry. So, pretty much any subject she teaches if you have her as a teacher you are more than likely going to like that subject and that is really rare to have in a teacher."
As far as being selected as a finalist for the PAEMST award, Regnier said she is very excited.
"Just being nominated, especially by a coworker, which is really fulfilling. I feel like all of my coworkers deserve these awards. I really do because we work together. We're a team. No teacher is an island we all are on the same team and lift each other up constantly," explained Regnier. "I definitely couldn't have done any of this without support of my fellow teachers. They will look at some of my quirky antics, and they may laugh at them, but I know I have their support."
Regnier explained her classroom is about more than science.
"I am going to have a good time and enjoy myself and enjoy what I do," she said. "I want to wake up every day and not just come to a job but come to something that I love. And then I just spread that love with my students, and they definitely respond to it, and it's really made my life meaningful and this is right where I'm supposed to be."
During Teacher Appreciation week, Scholl said he is extra grateful.
"Especially in this COVID year, our teachers across Fayette County have been stretched in ways they've never had to be stretched before and they've all been rising stars throughout it. So, we think Teacher Appreciation Week is every day," Scholl said.