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Originally from El Paso, Texas, Leigh attended undergraduate school at Texas A&M University in College Station where she received a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. Upon graduation, she began her career at the Travis State School in Austin, Texas, working with mentally and emotionally handicapped boys. Her social work led to participation in a National Institute of Mental Health fellowship in Program Evaluation and Research Training at the University of Texas at El Paso where she completed her Master of Arts in Sociology.
In 1994, Leigh returned to Shepherd College, in West Virginia to pursue a teaching certificate in Biology and General Science. She began teaching at Paw Paw High School in 1998 and in 2001 moved to Berkeley Springs High School in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. While there, she became certified to teach both Advanced Placement Biology and Advanced Placement Environmental Science. As the high school science fair coordinator, she has supported student led research and experimentation. She has also actively participated in environmental education by coaching and encouraging student participation in the Envirothon, an national environmental science competition.
Leigh was awarded a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction, General Science in 2010. Her graduate thesis, 21st Century Symposium: A Case Study, details an innovative pilot project modeling a student-led, student-driven course where students pursue areas of interest while utilizing 21st century skills including social networking and web-based research, leading to publishable and presentable products.