High school chemistry teacher cultivates STEM skills, wins $500 from Weber Chevrolet

ST. LOUIS, MO — In 2016, after several years teaching at private schools in the Saint Louis area, Kathleen Danzo joined the faculty at Lift for Life Academy. It is the first charter school in the city of Saint Louis as the 10th grade chemistry teacher.

Mrs. Danzo saw the need to restructure the high school science program to provide remedial, standard, and advanced classes to students of varying abilities. Working closely with the principal of the school, class curriculums and students’ schedules were revised within a week to provide classroom experiences that allowed all students to flourish.

Danzo currently stores her chemistry class equipment and materials in a small janitor’s closet at the school. They mostly consist of donated or recycled items and materials that she purchases out of her own pocket.

Mrs. Danzo does not limit her efforts to the classroom. She actively contributes to before and after-school programs. She is the sponsor of the ACE engineering program, using her early career skills as an engineer to cultivate STEM skills in the next generation. She has also gotten involved with Metro Leadership League (MLL), a non-profit charity that provides mentors for young girls in underserved communities. Mrs. Danzo serves on the MLL board of directors and is a constant source of knowledge and communication between the school and MLL. She has identified other teachers to serve as grade-level liaisons to MLL and recommended numerous processes to encourage academic excellence in the girls who participate in the program.

Each morning, Mrs. Danzo brings breakfast into her classroom and meets with a promising 10th-grade student that is finishing high school while raising a baby. Danzo is supporting the young mother’s high school success both materially and emotionally so that she can provide a strong future for herself and her child.

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