The Florida west coast chapter of the Air Force Association recently honored Patricia Zalo as its 2019 Manatee School District STEM Teacher of the Year. Zalo is retiring from teaching after 36 years, most recently serving as a biology teacher at Manatee High School, where she taught grades 9-12 as well as teaching Advanced Placement Biology and Environmental Science courses.

The presentation was made on May 29 at the end of school year luncheon for Manatee teachers and staff. Included in the award package was a $250 check from the Air Force Association. In addition to her classrooms duties, Zalo has played a major role in promoting and organizing the Regional Science and Engineering Fair in Manatee School District – and the follow on state and international levels.

Additionally, she was active with the Florida Foundation for Future Scientists, the Florida Junior Academy of Science and the Science National Honor Society. In each case she reached out to take leadership positions in the organizations to better promote science-based programs for high school students. In 2005, she was named the Outstanding High School Science Teacher by the Florida Association of Science Teachers.

The Air Force Association is an independent, nonprofit civilian education organization promoting public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in the security of the nation. It has nearly 100,000 members in more than 200 chapters worldwide. About 280 AFA members live in Sarasota/Manatee area.

— Submitted by Michael Richardson