November 30, 2007
California Academy of Mathematics and Science teacher Gregory Fisher recently was named among 20 educators nationwide to make the All-USA Team sponsored by USA Today to recognize outstanding teachers.
Fisher, an economics and government teacher, was one of three winners chosen in California. This year's recipients receive $500 individual awards and $2,000 for their schools.
Judges considered how well teachers identify and address their students' needs and what impact they have on students and learning.
“I don’t look at this as an individual achievement,” Fisher said. “It’s the net result of CAMS. It’s the environment that’s set up that allows us to do these pretty intense things.”
Fisher engages students in projects such as working at polls, writing economic plays and producing campaign ads at the magnet high school aimed at drawing more minorities and women to math and science. He places heavy emphasis on nurturing students’ creativity and entrepreneurship.
Fisher’s students build and track imaginary $100,000 portfolios to see if they can beat his. Students team up and research community needs to design products and start-up business plans. The plans are judged by venture capitalists and business leaders.
"Creativity can be messy, but the rewards and benefits transcend any cost," Fisher said. He pushed his students, 40 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, to audition for ABC's American Inventor and saw four of 12 teams go beyond the first round.
“CAMS allows teachers the freedom to be creative, so I can take these kids really far. But the students are the ones who make me look good,” Fisher said.
Fisher last year won the Teacher of the Year award from the Global Association of Teachers of Economics. Only one award was given nationally to a high school teacher.