Faculty and Staff Profiles

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Shirley Gholston Key, Associate Professor of Science Education, teaches elementary, middle school, and secondary science methods.  Her background includes thirteen years as a middle school teacher in Houston, Texas and ten years in the University of Houston system.  She has won many awards for her teaching on both levels.  She was named teacher of the year twice at Christa McAuliffe Middle School and was a finalist for Fort Bend ISD Teacher of the Year.  Additional awards include Texas Junior High Teacher of the year, National Science Teacher Association’s middle school teacher of the year, a finalist for University of Memphis Distinguished Teaching Award, COE Dean’s Excellency in Mentoring Award, CEHHS Crader's Award, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership Teaching Award, the National Association of Biology Teachers’ Women in Science Teaching Award, and the Memphis Organization of Science Teachers’ ROSE award.  Some other rewarding experiences include serving as the founding Director of the University of Houston Downtown’s Elementary Program, founding Graduate Director and Director of the University of Houston Downtown’s Master of Arts in Teaching programs, and the founding Director of the University of Memphis’ New Teachers Center.

Dr. Key has a national reputation for her work in science education for she has served on the Board of Directors of the National Science Teachers Association, the Association of Multicultural Science Educators, and the Science Teachers Association of Texas.  She has also served on committees for the National Association of Research in Science Teaching, School Science and Mathematics Association, and the American Education Research Association. She is a past president of the Texas Earth Science Teachers Association and the Houston Metropolitan Association for Teachers of Science

She has served as PI and Co-PI for many local and NSF grants.  She was on the writing team and professional development team for Houston Independent School District’s HU-LINC grant and had many Eisenhower professional development grants while in Houston.  She is currently Co-PI on an NSF grant with the University of Alabama and the University of Houston.  Many scholars have benefited from Dr. Key’s knowledge through her international, national, and regional presentations and publications.  She is an author for Pearson Scott Foresman elementary science series and the author of Greater the Expectations…Greater the Achievements!

Dr. Key is an advocate for students in urban low performing schools for she believes that all students can learn and that all teachers should teach as though all children were their biological children. Her research focuses on the science achievement of underrepresented groups through the inquiry of cognitive learning styles, preservice teaching and teachers, inservice teachers’ professional development, and mentoring of novice

Additional Information



  • Fayette County School District - May 2010
  • J. Sargent Reynolds Community College and University of Virgina, Richmond, VA - The Urban Institute, June 2010
  • Key, S. (2008). Pathway's Publications: The TAMS Journal presented at the National Middle School Conference in Houston, Texas.