Andrea Hearden Named Teacher of Distinction

Clare Ravizza, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Each year, hundreds of excellent Bay Area teachers are nominated for Golden Apple Awards by members of the community. This year, NDA teachers nominated included Mrs. Andrea Hearden, Mr. Doug Guyette, Mrs. Katie Stanczak, Mrs. Elizabeth Huntley and Mrs. Carolyn Brown, as well as the IB Team and the World Languages Team.

From these hundreds of talented educators, 40 teachers and teams are named Teachers of Distinction.

NDA science teacher Mrs. Hearden has been named a Teacher of Distinction by the Golden Apple Awards program.

The Golden Apple Program described Teachers of Distinctions as “educators [who] were selected because of their commitment to all students, their active involvement of students in relevant learning opportunities and their creation of learning environments that stimulate student interest in learning.”

“I am grateful for the nomination and for those who wrote recommendations on my behalf,” said Hearden. “I am very proud to represent the NDA faculty, particularly the teachers who have dedicated their entire careers to the students here.”

“Andrea Hearden is an incredibly distinguished teacher,” said NDA principal Dr. John Ravizza. “She is a gifted educator who cares about students. She continually seeks out ways to challenge her students in the classroom.”

Hearden is most well-known for her Intro to Chem and Physics (ICP), an honors science class for freshman.

“I had Mrs. Hearden when I was a freshman. I took her ICP class,” recalled junior Madi Polack. “She was a great teacher because she was always willing to help and answer questions when I needed it. Also, she was very enthusiastic and always positive.”

“She was really engaging and made all of the content easy to understand,” added junior Delaney Butterfield, another student whom Hearden taught as a freshman in ICP.

In ICP, Hearden teaches study tips and organization skills that benefit the freshmen throughout their high school careers.

Ravizza remarked, “[Hearden] emphasizes and develops study skills with her freshmen. This helps them build a strong foundation that assists them in high school.”

“Mrs. Hearden always kept us well organized and helped with time management during finals by providing calendars for us to fill out,” said Polack.

Butterfield also added that “she really focused on what the best ways of studying are which also helped me with my other classes.”

Hearden works not only to expertly teach science, but to educate the whole person, something emphasized at NDA.

“It definitely doesn’t make me unique at Notre Dame but I care about my students a great deal. I care enough to want the best for them in the future,” said Hearden. “Therefore, I include a constant conversation about how to succeed in the future which includes some life skills, some study skills and talk of being a well-rounded person.

Hearden’s excellence as an educator arises from her desire to use science to prepare NDA students for the rest of their lives.

“I am most passionate about helping my students be prepared for the future,” stated Hearden. “Not every student will be a scientist, but science can benefit everyone. Science classes teach logical thinking, organization and attention to detail, the ability to display and analyze information, perseverance, time management and a thousand other things that EVERYONE needs.”

“I hope my students understand that I am passionate about THEM!” commented Hearden. “They are what I enjoy most about my job!”