The key to keep evolving as a classroom teacher is to consistently put yourself in collaborative spaces where you can learn from and share ideas with other like-minded educators.”

Lidia’s Story 

For more than 20 years, Lidia Ortiz has taught science at Chicago’s Northside College Preparatory High School, where she has chaired the science department since 2009. She teaches advanced courses in biology and chemistry, including interdisciplinary experiential learning courses that she has created and implemented. She achieved National Board Certification in 2007 and was recertified in 2016. In 2022, she was awarded the Distinguished Secondary School Teacher Award by Northwestern University. She is the recipient of two student-nominated Outstanding Teacher Awards from the University of Chicago and is a five-time Golden Apple Award nominee. As a 2018–2020 Teacher Fellow in the University of Chicago’s EYES on Cancer Research Fellowship Program, she gave presentations at the University of Chicago Medicine’s Summer Cancer Research Symposium. She has also participated in sustainability and teaching fellowships in Michigan State University’s Wipro STEM and Leadership Fellowship Program and has contributed to two books on STEM education.

Lidia holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Education in Secondary Science Education from DePaul University. 

She resides in Chicago, Illinois, with her family. In her spare time, Lidia enjoys traveling the world, reading and spending time outdoors.