Math, Science Teachers Receive Awards

By Susan Walton — October 26, 1983 9 min read
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Congratulating them on their accomplishments as excellent teachers, George Keyworth, President Reagan’s science adviser, last week presented Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching to 104 teachers from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

In a brief speech following the awards ceremony, President Reagan also told the awards recipients that they represented the many excellent teachers in their fields.

The teachers were chosen after a national search, which was administered by the National Science Foundation and conducted by six education and scientific organizations. Funded at $1 million, the excellence awards were established in the fiscal 1983 budget for nsf

“These awardees have attained a reputation among peers for reaching all students while encouraging the attainment of excellence,” according to a statement by the National Science Teachers Association, which managed the program under contract to nsf

The science-teachers’ group supervised the nomination and selection procedures for the science teachers; the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics did so for mathematics teachers.

While asserting that the teachers chosen were indeed representative of the best of the profession, officials involved in the program were quick to add that there are many other excellent science and mathematics teachers who were not chosen.

“They’re very impressive,” said Stephen Willoughby, professor of mathematics education at New York University and president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. “They are indeed outstanding teachers, representing the many outstanding teachers we have.”

Mr. Willoughby said the awards program “calls people’s attention to the fact that there are good teachers.” The danger, he added, is that “people will think these are the only good teachers.” He noted also that although such programs are an important component of improving science and mathematics education, they are only part of the solution. “The politicians may think they’re off the hook,” he said. “This is a very small step in the right direction. What we need is a giant leap.”

Alice Moses, a science teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and president-elect of the nsta, noted that the awards may have a “domino effect,” drawing the attention of more people in the teachers’ states and school districts. For the teachers, she said, “The first thing is to have people think what they’re doing is important.”

The awards brought with them a $5,000 grant from the nsf, as well as many other donations from industry and business. The International Business Machines Corporation gave each teacher a personal computer, Texas Instruments donated CC40 portable computers, and Ashton-Tate provided software packages to go with the personal computers.

“We’re committed to education,” said Belinda Young, a public-relations specialist for Ashton-Tate, a California-based computer company. ''We feel this is one of the ways we can help people learn. We’ll start in the schools.”

Noted John W. Alden, manager of education-programs development for Texas Instruments: “I think on our part, it’s really a symbolic statement of our interest in excellence in these two fields, which are fundamental to our existence as a corporation.”

For the teachers, however, the most important award seemed to be the recognition and the opportunity to talk with equally dedicated peers. “It’s fantastic to be able to talk with other people in your field who are committed to quality education, and to share ideas,” said John J. Skrocky Jr., a physics teacher from Omaha. “Getting together with people who share the same excitement is motivating in itself.”

Added Doris B. DeBoe, a mathematics teacher from the District of Columbia, “This is sort of like a shot in the arm. It’s really a boost. People in high places are saying that there are excellent teachers, not only 104 of them.”

“I think it’s great, it’s mindboggling,” said Herwood Curtis, a mathematics teacher from North Sutton, N.H., who plans to retire at the end of this school year. “I never expected to be a part of something like this.”

Mr. Curtis, however, expressed a sentiment offered by many of the teachers: There are problems in science and mathematics education, and just rewarding excellence is not going to end them.

“This is not going to settle education’s problems,” Mr. Curtis said. “I appreciate this and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. But it isn’t going to solve education’s problems.”

“You’d better believe there are problems,” said Eleanor Milliken, a science teacher from Durham, N.H. “But until parents insist on excellence, they’re not going to get it. Money is not the only thing that’s going to make a difference. It’s a policy issue now. We’ve got to take advantage of the interest in education.”

Ms. Milliken said that she, like other teachers, was frequently frustrated with teaching and that she sometimes contemplated leaving the classroom.

“Every Friday,” she said. “It’s becoming more and more difficult to say no to the offers I get from museums and planateria. We put out a good product, but we do it for pennies. There’s a limit.”

The following teachers were cited by the awards program:

Alabama: Peggy Mullins Coulter (M), Central High School, Tuscaloosa; Mary Nell Gonce (S), Bradshaw High School, Florence.

Alaska: Sandra Dexter (S), Wendler Junior High School, Anchorage; Mildred Janice Heinrich (S), Robert Service High School, Anchorage.

Arizona: C. Diane Bishop (M), University High School, Tucson; David T. Smith (S), Townsend Junior High School, Tucson.

Arkansas: Rudy B. Beede (M), Forrest City Middle School, Forrest City; Jo Anne Rife (S), Harrison High School, Harrison.

California: Clyde L. Corcoran (M), California High School, Whittier; Arthur Vernon Farmer (S), Gunn High School, Palo Alto.

Colorado: Vaughan Aandahl (M), George Washington High School, Denver; Irwin J. Hoffman (S), George Washington High School, Denver.

Connecticut: Nancy De Simone Cetorelli (M), Stratford High School, Stratford; Ronald I. Perkins (S), Greenwich High School, Greenwich.

Delaware: Denise I. Griffiths (M), Concord High School, Wilmington; Verna M. Price (S), Central Middle School, Dover.

District of Columbia: Doris Broome DeBoe (M), Banneker High School, Washington; Katie Walker (S), Howard D. Woodson Senior High School, Washington.

Florida: Jo Anne Stephens Taber (M), Gulliver Academy Middle School, Coral Gables; Frances L. Stivers (S), Terry Parker High School, Jacksonville.

Georgia: James Earl Pettigrew (M), Central High School, Macon; Richard R. Bell (S), Turner Middle School, Lithia Springs.

Hawaii: Barbara Kagan (M), Moanalua High School, Honolulu; Arthur I. Kimura (S), McKinley High School, Honolulu.

Idaho: Jerry Hong (M), Blackfoot High School, Blackfoot; Charles Robert Humphries (S), Buhl High School #412, Buhl.

Illinois: Charles L. Hamberg (M), Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Prairie View; Henry Rosenbaum (S), Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, Chicago.

Indiana: Robert Dale Lovell (M), North Side High School, Fort Wayne; Cheryl L. Mason (S), Highland High School, Highland.

Iowa: Roger D. Fuerstenberg (M), Sudlow Junior High School, Davenport; Karen Murphy (S), Nathan Weeks Transitional, Des Moines.

Kansas: Sharon Kay Carnes (M), Olpe High School, Olpe; Wendell G. Mohling (S), Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, Shawnee Mission.

Kentucky: Joanne H. Greaver (M), J.M. Atherton High School, Louisville; Douglas C. Jenkins (S), Warren Central High School, Bowling Green.

Louisiana: Jacque P. Treese (M), Green Oaks High School, Shreveport; Gayle M. Ater (S), University Laboratory School, Baton Rouge.

Maine: Neil Tame (M), Oxford Hills High School, South Paris; Wesley H. Hedlund (S), Bangor High School, Bangor.

Maryland: Ronald Lee Culbertson (M), Gilman Middle School, Baltimore; Andrea R. Bowden (S), Forest Park Senior High School, Baltimore.

Massachusetts: Margaret M. Bondorew (M), Medway Junior-Senior High School, Medway; Margaret B. Anderson (S), Westfield High School, Westfield.

Michigan: Patricia R. Fraze (M), Huron High School, Ann Arbor; Walter Scheider (S), Ann Arbor Huron High School, Ann Arbor.

Minnesota: Larry Luck (M), North Community High School, Minneapolis; J. Bruce Bauer (S), Stillwater High School, Stillwater.

Mississippi: Catherine Perry Cotten (M), Columbia High School, Columbia; Bess Moffatt (S), Pascagoula High School, Pascagoula.

Missouri: Akehiko Takahashi (M), Wentzville High School, Wentzville; Bill M. Brent (S), Rolla Senior High School, Rolla.

Montana: Glenda M. Tinsley (M), North Junior High School, Great Falls; Herbert J. York (S), St. Ignatius High School, St. Ignatius.

Nebraska: Buren G. Thomas (M), Lincoln Northeast High School, Lincoln; John J. Skrocky Jr. (S), Northwest Senior High School, Omaha.

Nevada: Larry D. Wilson (M), Valley High School, Las Vegas; Steven W. Pellegrini (S), Yerington Intermediate School, Yerington.

New Hampshire: Herwood W. Curtiss (M), Kearsarge Regional High School, North Sutton; Eleanor T. Milliken (S), Oyster River High School, Durham.

New Jersey: Mary Dell Morrison (M), Columbia High School, Maplewood; George R. Hague Jr. (S), Bernards High School, Bernardsville.

New Mexico: Jimmie Fern Lees (M), Portales High School, Portales; Helen M. Foster (S), Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe.

New York: Alfred Kalfus (M), Babylon Junior-Senior High School, Babylon; Annette Miele Saturnelli (S), Marlboro Central High School, Marlboro.

North Carolina: Burton W. Stuart Jr. (M), Chapel Hill Senior High School, Chapel Hill; Anne F. Barefoot (S), Whiteville High School, Whiteville.

North Dakota: Gary W. Froelich (M), Bismarck High School, Bismarck; Marcia Steinwand (S), Robinson Public School, Robinson.

Ohio: William J. Hunt (M), Mayfield High School, Mayfield; Carolyn H. Farnsworth (S), Jones Middle School, Columbus.

Oklahoma: Charles Eugene Hobbs (M), Byng Public School System, Ada; Jimmie Pigg (S), Moore High School, Moore.

Oregon: Sue Ann McGraw (M), Lake Oswego Senior High School, Lake Oswego; George Allen Tinker (S), Marshfield High School, Coos Bay.

Pennsylvania: Annalee Henderson (M), State College Area High School, State College; Louis F. DeVicaris (S), Cheltenham High School, Wyncote.

Rhode Island: Marcelline Anne Zambuco (M), John F. Deering Junior High School, West Warwick; Mary C. Christian (S), North Providence High School, North Providence.

South Carolina: Elizabeth Lynch Lashley (M), D.W. Daniel High School, Central; Johanna O. Killoy (S), Dreher High School, Columbia.

South Dakota: James A. Nelson (M), Simmons Junior High School, Aberdeen; Gerald E. Loomer (S), Rapid City Central High School, Rapid City.

Tennessee: Nancy Nelms Gates (M), Overton High School, Memphis; Josephine A. Bennett (S), Whitehaven High School, Memphis.

Texas: Paul A. Foerster (M), Alamo Heights High School, San Antonio; Janet A. Harris (S), Cy-Fair High School, Houston.

Utah: Jacquelyn Marie Igo Stonebraker (M), Evergreen Junior High School, Salt Lake City; Carl L. Bruce (S), Bonneville High School, Ogden.

Vermont: Jean Carole Hackett (M), Hazen Union, Hardwick; Judith L. Allard (S), Burlington High School, Burlington.

Virginia: Joyce Ann Richardson Weeks (M), Hampton High School, Hampton; Edna Hyke Corbett (S), I.C. Norcom High School, Portsmouth.

Washington: Thomas F. Sedgwick (M), Lincoln High School, Tacoma; Barbara Schulz (S), Shorewood High School, Seattle.

West Virginia: Ava Florence Crum (M), Winfield High School, Winfield; Robert E. Phipps (S), Parkersburg South High School, Parkersburg.

Wisconsin: David R. Johnson (M), Nicolet High School, Glendale; Edward M. Mueller (S), Shattuck Junior High School, Neenah.

Wyoming: Bernie Richard Schnorenberg (M), Sundance Junior-Senior High School, Sundance; Elizabeth B. Shelton (S), Big Horn Junior-Senior High School, Big Horn.

Puerto Rico: Jose L. Garrido (M), Colegio San Ignacio De Loyola, Rio Piedras; Luz V. Concepcion de Gaspar (S), University of Puerto Rico High School, San Juan.

A version of this article appeared in the October 26, 1983 edition of Education Week as Math, Science Teachers Receive Awards


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