“These remarkable teachers are dedicated, passionate, knowledgeable, and use innovative teaching methods that help prepare our students to thrive in a world in which technology changes at a breathtaking pace,” Torlakson said. “They are helping to turn our students into problem solvers who can be the innovators and inventors of tomorrow.”
The California Department of Education partnered with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a math or science teacher. State finalists were selected by a review panel of their peers who reviewed each candidate's content knowledge, pedagogical effectiveness, achievement results, and professional involvement.
The two San Diego County teachers are:
Genevieve Esmende, a teacher and mathematics department chair at Wangenheim Middle School in San Diego Unified School District. She has been teaching for a total of 15 years. She is a Master Teacher Fellow for Math for America San Diego through which she mentors new middle school math teachers.
Kathleen McHeffey, a math teacher at Meadowbrook Middle School in the Poway Unified School District. She has been teaching for 25 years. She achieved National Board Certification in 1999 and recertification in 2009. She is a leader who helps plan and present professional development throughout the Poway Unified School District.
The National Science Foundation administers this awards program on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Awards are given to mathematics and science teachers from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions including Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Department of Defense Schools, and the U.S. territories.