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Ricardo Conte receives UM Young Achiever's Award

During this year’s Homecoming celebration, the UM National Alumni Association honored alumni for their outstanding contributions to the greater education community. The honorees received their awards in front of a full house in Anna Irvin Dining Hall during the Feb. 8 Recognition Luncheon. Ricardo Conte received the Nathalie Molton Gibbons Young Achiever’s Award.

Conte, an earth and space science teacher at Simmons Middle School in Hoover, has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of his students.  

Conte graduated from the University in 2012 and soon after started working at Calera Middle School.  

Described as a “fireball of energy with a passion for education and science,” in the letter nominating him for this award, Conte relies on innovation in his teaching methods and engages his students beyond his role as a subject matter expert.  

Conte is a lifelong learner who continues to stay abreast of current trends in education. In his classroom, he establishes relationships with each of his students, and learns what motivates them so he can more actively engage them in the learning process.  

Conte’s passion and dedication in the classroom has gained attention statewide, and he was chosen to be a part of the 2019 sixth grade curriculum update team for Alabama’s A+ College Ready program. While working with the A+ College Ready program, Conte has received high praise from his peers during training and post-training surveys. 

During the summer months, he utilizes his summer vacations to assist in the training of other earth science teachers across the state.  

His colleagues describe him as an educator who is not afraid to take on additional responsibilities or work to further educate himself to meet changing trends in the classroom over the years.  

Conte earned the prestigious Outstanding Earth and Space Science Teacher 2019 award for the state of Alabama from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, which recognizes “exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the earth sciences at the pre-college level.” 

He earned the Shelby County Schools First Year Teacher of the Year honor in 2013 and received the UM Outstanding Alumnus in Elementary Education award for 2014-2015.  

Upon taking the Praxis – ETS test to earn his teaching certificate, Conte received the Recognition of Excellence designation for being among the top 15 percent scorers nationwide. While a student at Montevallo, Conte earned Dean’s List and President’s List honors for six consecutive semesters.