The Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES) is a project of the Center for Inquiry. After decades of legal and legislative wins for evolution education, it is still difficult for many teachers to teach the unifying theme of biology without pushback from students and parents. As science standards across the country improve to include middle school standards on evolution, more and more teachers are teaching evolution for the first time and the battle to teach sound science moves into the individual classrooms themselves. The philosophy of TIES is that good teachers can teach anything as long as they have the content and resources to do so effectively. In just three and a half years, TIES has grown from a powerful idea shared by Richard Dawkins and Bertha Vazquez to a network of over fifty teachers who have presented over 100 professional development workshops in over 40 states.
TIES Director Bertha Vazquez has been teaching middle school science in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for 27 years. A seasoned traveler who has visited all seven continents, she enjoys introducing the world of nature and science to young, eager minds. An educator with National Board Certification, she is the recipient of several national and local honors, including the 2014 Samsung’s $150,000 Solve For Tomorrow Contest and the $5,000 Charles C. Bartlett National Excellence in Environmental Award in 2009. She was Miami-Dade Science Teacher of the Year in 1997, 2008, and 2017 and is currently one of Florida’s 2017 finalists for The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Thanks to the success of TIES, Bertha was the recipient of the 2017 winner of the National Association of Biology Teachers Evolution Education Award.