Turlock teacher wins national acclaim

01/14/2014 2:52 PM

01/14/2014 5:46 PM

Walnut Elementary School math teacher Jamie Garner has earned the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, one of two Californians to receive the honor.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the awards Tuesday for Garner and the science winner, Alma Suney Park, who teaches at a private school in East Palo Alto. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government for K-12 mathematics and science teaching, he said.

“These teachers play key roles in encouraging and inspiring their students with not only their expertise, but their talent and dedication,” said Torlakson, a former science teacher.

The 102 winners nationwide will receive $10,000 awards from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They will travel to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events later this year.

Garner teaches in the Discovery science and math magnet school that shares the Walnut campus with a performing arts magnet program. Her winning video focused on a geometry lesson determining the surface area of three-dimensional solids.

In addition to her math classes, Garner provides intensive, after-school instruction. Her students will be among those participating in today’s Future City engineering competition at the Stanislaus County Office of Education, said Walnut Principal Mark Holmes.

The presidential award honors outstanding teachers from across the country, Puerto Rico, Department of Defense schools and the U.S. territories. The winners are selected by a panel of scientists, mathematicians and educators after an initial nomination process at the state level. Each year, the award alternates between teachers of kindergarten through sixth grade and those teaching the seventh through 12th grades.

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