Staff Report

Science teacher Laura Branch at Righetti High School has been chosen the 2019 Teacher of the Year by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG).

The organization’s purpose is to advance science and geology. The honor includes $3,000 for personal use and another $3,000 to be used in the classroom.

“Geology has always been my passion,’’ Branch said. “Teaching geology and about the world around us is my legacy. Finding out I won the AAPG Teacher of the Year Award is a full-on dream come true! I started crying when I found out. … I’ve been battling the last 20 years to get geology to be recognized as a core science at the high school level.”

righetti teacher

Laura Branch

Branch, who has been a member of the school’s Science Department for more than 20 years, is known around campus as a team player, a spokeswoman said.

“Laura is a phenomenal educator who is always working to connect the curriculum she teaches to real-life experiences, with the goal of making science accessible to all students,’’ said Righetti Science Department chairwoman and teacher Rebecca Wingerden.

Branch’s collaborative academic projects include the CTE Environmental Resources Pathway, Educators Academy in the Amazon, a campus native garden, securing internships, cross-curricular credit opportunities, being a leader in the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards and much more, Wingerden added.