Two Remarkable Educators Honored with YouScience® Innovative Educator Award

Margaret Rice (WA) and Kathy Peres (KS) were recognized for their innovative approaches to education

AMERICAN FORK, Utah, November 28, 2023 – In recognition of their exceptional contributions in guiding and inspiring students, Margaret Rice of Washougal School District in Washington and Kathy Peres of Blue Valley Schools in Kansas have been awarded the esteemed YouScience® Innovative Educator Award. This honor celebrates their outstanding contributions in leading students towards successful career exploration and readiness for the ever-evolving professional landscape. 


Margaret Rice: Paving Pathways for Student Success

Hailed as a beacon of excellence in the Washougal School District, Rice’s impact as the Career and Technical Education (CTE) director has been profound. Her overarching goal is to ensure every student has access to job readiness education in their K-12 educational career and every senior has a seamless transition into their best-fit post-high school experiences. Dr. Mary Templeton, Superintendent of the district, commended Rice’s pivotal role, emphasizing the importance of CTE programs in empowering students for future career opportunities.

“Margaret connects students with business and industry leaders, and she supports all of our students in developing the job readiness skills they need to succeed in the skilled trades, business, military, or college,” said Templeton. “She is a phenomenal asset to our district, and we are so proud of her and the amazing work she leads.”

With more than 12 years of teaching experience, Rice’s philosophy is anchored in a student-centered approach, aimed at developing innovative programs that engage students and propel them toward a successful future. With an additional 15 years of experience as an administrator and developer of CTE programs, Rice recognizes the limitations of traditional educational frameworks and has championed exploring new ideas and engagement strategies to prepare students for the evolving workforce.

Her commitment to leveraging YouScience in the classroom is a testament to her dedication. In addition to Industry Certification exams, Rice has expanded the Education Career Plan (ECP) to maximize its impact, bridging the gap between students and the business community. By ensuring that students have access to this resource for a decade post-graduation, she underscores the significance of connecting students with the business world.

Rice’s efforts in leveraging the YouScience ECP with the Washington State’s High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP) have helped transform this program into a robust and integral part of the high school experience. Furthermore, her initiatives, such as the mobile learning lab and flipped internships, provide students with real-world experiences and connections within industry that foster a more dynamic learning environment.


Kathy Peres: A Champion for Student Empowerment

In the Blue Valley School District of Kansas, Peres embodies student-centric teaching, nurturing an environment where students discover their paths in a complex world. She has been an educator for 21 years in the district, advising thousands of students, primarily leading business education teaching marketing, management, and accounting courses. She’s also advised DECA, BPA and FBLA taking hundreds of students to compete at the national level.

Mark Turrentine, the District Coordinator K-12 for Career & Technical Education in Blue Valley Schools, commended Peres for her energy and dedication to student success.

“In our first year working with YouScience and the Industry Certification exams, Kathy has taken on the new process with her strong work ethic and has collaborated with other teachers to understand the importance and ease of use in proctoring the exams,” said Turrentine. “Kathy is one of the most committed teachers I have ever worked with, and she is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to motivate her students and cultivate student learning.”

Peres, an advocate for student-led initiatives, has played an instrumental role in establishing and developing two student stores that provide clothing and other branded items to the high school, middle and elementary schools within the district. Both businesses are Gold Certified by the national DECA and bring in a combined six figures in annual sales. Her commitment extends beyond the classroom, which is evident in her leadership of various Career and Technical Student Organizations, providing students with hands-on business and presentation experiences in competitive settings.  

By leveraging YouScience in her accounting, management, and marketing classes, Peres assesses student progress, using the pre- and post-tests to guide students toward certifications and track their development throughout the course. Her role as an advocate and pioneer in the implementation of these exams has facilitated their adoption across various classes.


Celebrating Innovation in Education

The YouScience Innovative Educator Award celebrates educators who have implemented innovative approaches to empower the next generation of professionals through academic and career exploration.

Edson Barton, CEO of YouScience, emphasized the transformative power of educators using YouScience to bridge the skills gap and prepare students for a dynamic job market, affirming the commitment to a forward-thinking educational environment prioritizing student success and readiness for the future.

“Margaret and Kathy exemplify the essence of the YouScience Innovative Educator Award,” said Barton. “They’ve pioneered innovative approaches in the classroom that empower students for their future pathways. We celebrate their accomplishments and look forward to their continued success.”

Educators, students, and parents are encouraged to nominate deserving candidates who champion career exploration through YouScience products for subsequent awards by completing this submission form.

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About YouScience

YouScience® is the leading technology provider dedicated to solving the skills and exposure gap crisis for students and employers. Its end-to-end platform, YouScience® Brightpath, connects education with career applications designed to help students unlock their potential for future pathways. YouScience leverages proven research, artificial intelligence, and industry input to help individuals identify their aptitudes, validate their skills and knowledge, and get matched with real-world educational and career pathways in high-demand occupations. YouScience is the preferred choice of individuals, parents, educators, and counselors to guide and support educational and career pathways, currently serving more than 7,000 educational institutions and millions of users nationwide.


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