US (DE): Teacher finalist in Global Teacher Prize thanks to hydroponics

Through her innovative teaching, a Delaware educator has impacted many students, earning her recognition as the only American among the top 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize. The potential prize of $1 million underscores the global acknowledgment of her contributions.

Melissa Tracey, a food studies teacher at Odyssey Charter School in Wilmington, was chosen from a pool of 7,000 nominations and applicants representing 130 countries. She was invited by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization to Paris for the ceremony last week.

“In all honesty, I just felt incredibly honored to represent my school including my students as well as to represent Delaware let alone to be an American finalist. I also felt incredibly honored just to represent the US,” she said. “I was able to spend a few days with some of the other finalists and I just felt incredibly honored to be in their presence.”

“One of the reasons I was a top 10 finalist is for the Innovative food studies career and technical education pathway that I developed that is unique to Delaware and probably one of the kind in the country,” she said. “I teach students about food through the lens of culture, environment, power, and history. I also helped to cement a partnership with Del Tech to offer six college credits and to teach students about principles of plant growth and hydroponic production, and then separately I have also created an elective course called future food.”


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