Elisa Margarita

Sloan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics • 2022

Title and Organization Science Teacher, Brooklyn Technical High School


Growing up in a nearby hamlet of Commack, surrounded by the area’s many nature preserves, hiking trails, and beaches, Dr. Margarita developed a strong zeal and appreciation for the environment at a young age. As a teacher at one of the largest, most prestigious, and selective public schools in the nation, she brings her passion for the outdoors to her classroom through incorporating environmentally-focused projects and real-world application into her lessons every day. Dr. Margarita’s students spend up to 60% of their class time in the lab and participate in an array of scientific projects using resources found in nature, such as albatross bolus and discarded plastic bottles. Dr. Margarita’s relationships with dozens of science, environmental, and conservation organizations have allowed those in her class to engage in many field-based, experiential learning opportunities. Dr. Margarita’s strong partnership with professional organizations has also allowed her to secure internships for many of her students, helping them to further cultivate their interests and strengths. Dr. Margarita’s hands-on teaching approach has been paramount in her students’ academic success, which has led to scores on the College Board Exams that are significantly above average, and a first-place winning streak for her Envirothon team in Brooklyn every year. But perhaps Dr. Margarita’s achievements are best measured in the way she has influenced the many students, teachers, educational and environmental partners she works with every day. One of them, former student Ada Luo, sums up that influence, “Dr. Margarita is the most loving and passionate educator I have ever had the honor of learning from. She changed my life.”