Northern California Geological Society

2005 - 2006 K - 12 Geoscience Teaching Awards


Three Bay Area teachers were recognized and presented award checks at the special March 29, 2006 dinner meeting.  All were successful in NCGS’ annual Geoscience Teaching Award competition.  Pierre de St. Croix was awarded $500.  Cheryl Costello and Mary Jane Holmes each received $250.  NCGS is especially pleased to be making these awards to teachers with obviously high interest in geology.  Normally only one award would have been made, but this year NCGS received three applications of unusually high quality.  Cheryl and Mary Jane were very close runners-up to Mr. de St. Croix.  There were other applicants, each of whom was provided with a teaching kit from Burminco, “Minerals and Rocks They Make.”

Mr. de St. Croix lives in Dublin and teaches 6th grade earth science at Harvest Park Middle School in Pleasanton.  During the 2005-2006 school year, Pierre is teaching a unit entitled “Earth’s Resources (Earth’s History and Fossils).”  His curriculum exhibited a high degree of imagination and detail.  Pierre received a BA in geology with a minor in education from UC Davis and a Masters in science education also from UC Davis.  Pierre enjoys the piano and guitar and a wide variety of outdoor activities including fossil and rock collecting.  He is engaged to be married in October.  Pierre will use his award to help colleagues and himself purchase “the necessary lab supplies needed to further enhance hands-on, project-based learning with regard to Earth’s resources and the concepts that support the standards surrounding the preservation of them.”

Mrs. Costello teaches geology at Monte Vista High School in Danville.  The curriculum for her geology course at Monte Vista is well thought out, detailed, and comprehensive.  Cheryl’s education includes a B.S. in geology from University of the Pacific and an M.S. in geology from CSU, Hayward (now CSU, East Bay).  Before becoming a teacher she was an environmental consultant.  Cheryl lives in Pleasanton with her husband Mike and 2-year-old son Matthew.  She enjoys the opportunity she now has to teach a subject she loves.  Cheryl will use her award to purchase laboratory materials, videos, and visual enhancements for her classroom.

Mrs. Holmes is a member of NCGS.  Her degrees are in history with teaching minors in science and music.  She has been teaching for more than 30 years and is now a science specialist in the Fremont School District at Parkmont Elementary School.  In that capacity Mary Jane offers a fourth grade earth sciences unit in which are included numerous hands-on labs.  She was recently Chair of the District Elementary Science Committee and currently mentors newer science specialists.  Mary Jane is widely traveled, plays the piano and guitar, and enjoys hands-on arts.  Her favorite hobby, however, is geology.  In pursuit of this hobby she attends numerous conferences and generally seeks out every opportunity to expand her geological knowledge.  She is a member of the Castro Valley Mineral and Gem Society.  Mary Jane is married to Tom Debley, has two adult sons, a daughter-in-law, and “the world’s most delightful granddaughter.”  Mary Jane’s home is in Oakland.  She will use her award to purchase solidly geological teaching materials.

See Cheryl Costello and Mary Jane Holmes receive their awards at the NCGS 2006 Special Dinner Meeting!