Bennett is state finalist for Presidential award

Instructor Jon Bennett swings a tennis ball overhead as he talks to his physics students about trajectory.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching selection committee has named physics instructor Jonathan Bennett as one of seven 2015 North Carolina finalists. Bennett, who has taught at North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics for 17 years, is now eligible to receive the nation’s highest honor for K-12 mathematics and science teachers. The awards program is administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of The White House.

Bennett was chosen as one of three mathematics and four science teachers from more than 200 nominees in North Carolina. The North Carolina Science Teachers Association will recognize him on November 12 at its annual Professional Development Institute in Winston-Salem. He will also be honored by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction at an awards reception on December 2 at Burroughs Wellcome Fund in Research Triangle Park and by the North Carolina State Board of Education at its December 3 meeting in Raleigh.

“Jon is the consummate scholar in all aspects of his professional life,” says NCSSM Dean of Science Amy Sheck. “His accomplishments are stellar. For our students, he has moved forwardBroad Street Scientific, our student research journal; he promotes the entry of students into science competitions; prepares students to present at professional meetings; pairs students with university scientists; and coauthored a publication with a student. In his [research in physics] class, he has created a scientifically productive lab group where students frame questions and generate data to get answers. In sum, he creates a scholarly atmosphere where students conduct physics research like professional scientists.”

Each year, a national committee of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators recommends up to 108 teachers to receive the PAEMST awards. Up to two teachers – mathematics or science – from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. territories as a group, and schools operated in the United States and overseas by the Department of Defense Education Activity receive the award. PAEMST awardees receive a trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, a $10,000 award, and a Presidential certificate.

NCSSM instructors who have earned the prestigious national designation in the past include:
Daniel Teague, math, 1991
Helen Compton, math, 1993
John Goebel, math, 1986
Myra Halpin, science, 1995
Sam Wheeler, science, 2005
Maria Hernandez, math, 2009
Jeff Milbourne, science, 2013

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