Dreyfoos biology instructor named Palm Beach Teacher of the Year

March 2016

A science teacher at a school best known for the arts is this year's Palm Beach County Teacher of the Year.

A science teacher at a school best known for the arts is this year's Palm Beach County Teacher of the Year.

Stephen Anand, 38, who chairs the biology department at Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, received this year's honor. Superintendent Robert Avossa surprised Anand on Wednesday with a visit to his classroom. Avossa was joined by Anand's family and friends, two School Board members and the media.

Anand, who was teaching class in jeans and a purple polo shirt, was taken aback by the honor.

"I dressed nice yesterday," he said. "This was definitely a surprise. Hopefully it renews my lease here for the next year."

As for what makes him a good teacher, Anand said, "That's a tough question. I enjoy my job and like to have fun."

Students go to the school to focus on an area of the arts, such as vocal, dance or theater. But they say he has made them love science as well.

"He's one of the best teachers I've ever had," said Catalina Correa, 15, a freshman from Greenacres. "He makes it so simple. He makes everything interactive and fun."

She said one time around Halloween, students were studying blood types and Anand dressed up as a vampire.

"That lesson, I understand it so well now," Correa said.

There's an art and science to being a teacher, and Anand blends those seamlessly, Avossa said.

"There are some real technical components to teaching but there's also a human component to it," Avossa said. "Kids aren't going to remember the formula you crammed on them. What they're going to remember is the relations you build, the inspiring words you gave them when they felt no hope and the ability to connect to them when parents can't."

Anand has been with the district for 15 years, and is a three-time finalist for the Dwyer Award, a teacher honor given out by the Economic Council of Palm Beach County. He was the National Association of Biology Teachers Teacher of the Year in 2011.

This story will be updated. Check back for more information.

stravis@tribpub.com or 561-243-6637

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