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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #19-69
October 14, 2019
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Thurmond Announces 2019 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today congratulated six outstanding mathematics and science teachers who are finalists from California for the 2019 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are bright stars in our educational system, and they’re being nominated for this prestigious award because they serve as role models for other teachers, inspire students to study math and science, and serve as leaders in their school communities,” Thurmond said. “We want more teachers like them all across California so that all students can enroll in great STEAM and computer science programs to prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.”

The California Department of Education partners with the California Mathematics Council and the California Science Teachers Association to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program. Each applicant must display subject mastery, appropriate use of instructional methods and strategies, lifelong learning, and leadership in education outside the classroom. Each candidate is also required to submit a 30-minute video lesson in support of their application.

Mathematics Finalists

Holly Brown, Moreland Middle School, Moreland School District, San Jose. Brown has been teaching for nine years. She has previously taught mathematics and science. Brown has transitioned into teaching Introduction to Computer Science and Automation and Robotics.

Maria Garcia, Richard Henry Dana Middle School, Wiseburn Unified School District, El Segundo. Garcia has been teaching for 20 years and is currently the Mathematics Department Chair. In addition to her teaching schedule, she hosts Mathematics Saturday events for parents/guardians and students. Garcia created the Girls Who Code Club at her school and launched a Hack-a-Challenge, for which students from grades five through twelve came together and worked on creating and building a robot that could successfully clean the surrounding beaches in the community.

Brian Shay, Canyon Crest Academy, San Dieguito Union High School District, San Diego. Shay has been teaching for 17 years and is currently the Mathematics Department Chair. He has taught mathematics courses ranging from Algebra 1 and Integrated Mathematics 1 to Advanced Placement Calculus BC and Calculus 3/Linear Algebra. Shay has been a frequent speaker at conferences throughout California and the country. He received the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Inspirational Teacher Award in 2014. In 2016, Shay received an award for Distinguished Mathematics Teaching from the Mathematical Association of America.

Science Finalists

Janice Coonrod, Bishop O’Dowd High School, Diocese of Oakland, Oakland. Coonrod has been teaching for 16 years and currently teaches chemistry and Research Methods and Practices courses. She often uses a constructivist approach at the beginning of a concept strand. Ms. Coonrod creates an engaging classroom environment that promotes group work, discussion and collaboration, hands-on activities, and problem-solving. Ms. Coonrod provides inquiry-based workshops to other educators and also created an introductory science course called Science and the Environment.

Erica Delgado; Lennox Mathematics, Science and Technology Academy; Lennox Elementary School District, Lennox. Delgado has been teaching for 17 years and teaches Engineering Design courses. She designs lessons where learning targets spiral so there is continual exposure to the learning targets and multiple opportunities for students to progress toward mastery within the depth of knowledge levels. Delgado provides students with in-depth engineering education experiences and the engineering design process and technical drawing skills.

Joanna Trigo, La Viña Middle School, Delano Union Elementary School District, Delano. Trigo has been teaching for 15 years and uses phenomena to engage her students in conceptual thinking. She creates lessons that require students to construct explanations, use models to demonstrate a concept, engage in argumentation, ask questions, analyze and interpret data, and communicate information.

The PAEMST program is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Presidential Award recipients are honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., and receive a $10,000 special award from the NSF.

Awards are given to teachers who teach science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Department of Defense schools, and four U.S. territories (as a group).

For more information, visit CDE's Presidential Awards for Math and Science Teaching web page or the PAEMST website External link opens in new window or tab..

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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