ROMNEY HONORS SIX EDUCATORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN MATH AND SCIENCE
In a Statehouse ceremony today, Governor Romney announced the six Massachusetts finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).
Three science and three math educators were chosen and, of the six, one teacher from each discipline will be selected as Massachusetts' winners by the National Science Foundation and President Bush in March.
"Our Presidential Award nominees set a great example, not only for educators in Massachusetts, but for the nation," Romney said. "Distinguished math and science teachers like these are the critical components of a public education system that will prepare us for the next century, and they deserve to be recognized for their hard work, creativity and dedication."
Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll agreed.
"Given the demands of today's global economy, it is more important than ever before that our students leave our schools with a solid education in both math and science," he said. "We are lucky to have such skilled educators in our classrooms."
Recognizing the state's need for more math and science specialists, Romney called for the formation of a Commonwealth Teaching Corps of math and science teachers in his comprehensive education reform package filed in September. The bill would make Corps members eligible for a $5,000 bonus at the end of each school year.
"Our students and our state are well served by the knowledge and talent these educators bring to the classroom everyday," Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi said. "On behalf of the House of Representatives, I salute them for preparing the leaders of tomorrow to succeed in today's competitive global economy."
This year's Presidential Award finalists are:
* Jesus Hernandez, who teaches Astronomy and AP and Honors Physics to 11th and 12th graders at Lawrence High School.
* June Thall, who teaches 7th grade Science at the Remington Middle School in Franklin.
* Linda Webber, who teaches Chemistry and Honors Chemistry to 10th, 11th and 12th graders at Natick High School.
* Amy Lena, who teaches 7th grade Math and 8th grade Honors Algebra at the A.W. Coolidge Middle School in Reading.
* Marsha Ohanesian, who teaches all levels of 8th grade Math at the Sullivan Middle School in Worcester.
* Cathie Pollack, who teaches Geometry, Honors Geometry and Honors Calculus at Haverhill High School.
Last year's Massachusetts winners were Linda Thomasian, a fifth grade math teacher at the Henri A. Yelle Elementary School in Northon, and Darren Wells, a sixth grade science teacher at the James P. Timilty Middle School in Boston.
The PAEMST program, established in 1983 by the White House, is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Each year the program recognizes outstanding mathematics and science teachers for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession. Teachers must be nominated prior to completing an application. Anyone - principals, teachers, students, parents, members of the community, or the general public - may nominate a teacher.
Recognition for Presidential Awardees includes a special citation signed by the President, a $10,000 honorarium from the National Science Foundation and gifts from donors, and a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with leaders in government and education.