Ochatt, who is entering her eighth year at RE, leads the school’s Young REsearchers Program and is heavily involved with the RE chapter of the National Science Honor Society. Her students and colleagues admire her for her enthusiasm for her work, and willingness to arrive early and stay late to provide extra help or assistance with research.
“Dr. Ochatt exemplifies scholarship, academic excellence and commitment to the growth and wellbeing of her students and her school,” Associate Head of School John A. King, Jr., said. “With a warm and sincere smile, a vast intellect, and a deep heart, Dr. Ochatt makes our campus a more welcome and vibrant place for every member of our community.”
She will be honored during an awards luncheon during the National Association of Biology Teachers annual conference in Atlanta in November. An independent selection committee of biology teachers, science supervisors, school administrators and industry representatives annually choose the outstanding biology teachers across the nation. The awards have been given since 1961.
The committee noted that it was impressed with her highly interactive, student-centered classroom.
“Dr. Ochatt is a passionate educator,” RE science teacher Adriana Sanchez said. “She combines immense knowledge of her subject area with a love of teaching and a strong ability to connect with students … Dr. Ochatt is a role model in every sense of the word.”
Ochatt teaches AP Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Forensic Chemistry, Honors Chemistry and has overseen award-winning student research on heavy metal contaminations in marine organisms and waters of Biscayne Bay in collaboration with teachers Robert DuBard and Kristine Stump, and with the support of entrepreneurs Ted Caplow P'25 and Nathalie Manzano. In 2011, she won the Beckman Science Educator of the Year Award, and her research has been published in seven peer-reviewed publications.
In her application for the biology award, Ochatt wrote about “working as a team without boundaries of knowledge,” stating that, “When students are supported by stronger members of the society, work in collaboration with seasoned professionals, and are given the tools to implement their creative commons, the outcomes are exponential.”
Ochatt previously worked at MAST Academy on Virginia Key and served on the Environmental Council for Key Biscayne. She has been a summer instructor at the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University, and volunteer for the Florida Breast Cancer Coalition Research Foundation. Prior to her years in the field of education, she worked as a research scientist in genetic engineering and molecular biology.
She earned her BS in biology and PhD in biological chemistry at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, School of Exact and Natural Sciences; her Master of Education from the University of West Florida; and her MBA from the University of Miami School of Business.
“Such accomplishments and awards should make not only Claudia’s school district but the entire state proud,” said Madelene Loftin, NABT Region VI director. “She is a priceless member of the education community.”