3 isle math, science teachers named U.S. finalists
Three public high school teachers were chosen this week as Hawaii finalists for the 2005 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the nation's highest honor in those fields.
They are Loren Ayresman, a math teacher at King Kekaulike High School on Maui; Sandra Nakagawa, a science teacher at Moanalua High School; and Jeanine Nakakura, a science teacher for gifted students in the McKinley High School complex of schools.
"I would like to think that what makes my teaching style so effective is the fact that I try to make the curriculum and course as down to earth as possible," Nakagawa said.
Ayresman said he, too, strives to make math relevant to his students' lives.
"By teaching in a way that is integrated with other disciplines, and teaching content that is not ordinarily covered in high school, my students feel empowered to be successful in mathematics," he said.
Being named a finalist for the Presidential Award "means very much to me personally," Ayresman added. "But more importantly, it shows that our school stands for excellence in education."
The competition is open to public and private school teachers. From this year's field of 253 state finalists, up to 108 presidential award winners will be named in March. Each winner receives a $10,000 grant and a trip to Washington, D.C.
Last year, Stacie Kaichi, a math teacher at Salt Lake Elementary School, and Kelley Fitzgerald, a science teacher at Sacred Hearts Academy in Honolulu, received Presidential Awards.
"The state finalists represent exceptional professional models of what we are looking for in science and mathematics teachers," said Celeste Pea, an education program coordinator at the National Science Foundation. "Through this recognition, we hope to motivate similar creativity in other teachers and to attract new recruits to the mathematics and science teaching profession."