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Marquette High’s Dr. Cathy Farrar named Missouri Teacher of the Year finalist

Marquette High science teacher Dr. Cathy Farrar
Marquette High science teacher Dr. Cathy Farrar (Source: Rockwood School District)

Dr. Cathy Farrar, a Marquette High science teacher and the Rockwood School District Teacher of the Year, was named one of seven finalists for Missouri State Teacher of the Year by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

“I work with a group of educators that is really good. The science department at Marquette is really strong in terms of ability and work ethic,” Farrar said. “You get used to thinking that’s the norm. I don’t feel as if I do anything super special, but when you think about all the work we all put into it, it is really nice to be recognized.”

Farrar has taught science at Marquette since 2012 and became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2018. She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She teaches biology at Marquette as well as Authentic Science Research, a course that engages students in science and engineering practices so they learn to think and perform tasks as research scientists.

Farrar said Authentic Science Research allows students to produce college-level work at Marquette.

“What makes the course interesting for kids is that we’re building a set of skills versus content-based knowledge,” Farrar said. “They’ll learn content along the way as well, but I can take what they’re interested in and find ways to do the learning that builds in things they’re interested in. If they’re interested in it, they can do things they never imagined. At the end of the day, they’ll produce a poster that’s like something that would hang on a college wall in a science department, write a paper like you would in college and do oral presentations like you would in college.”

DESE will reveal the 2021 teacher of the year at the Missouri State Teacher of the Year awards banquet in October.

“The parents who have reached out to me, it’s been amazing,” Farrar said. “My students – past, present, some of my future students I haven’t met yet – it’s very important for all teachers to feel that way and see the recognition.”

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