Math, science teaching award finalists honored

HALLOWELL — Maine’s three finalists for the national Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching were feted at a Department of Education-sponsored banquet on Dec. 9 at Maple Hill Farm.

About 50 people attended the banquet to honor Diana Jacobe, a math teacher at Bonny Eagle High School in Standish; Bonnie Burne, a seventh-grade teacher at Pemetic Elementary School in Southwest Harbor; and Ken Vencile, a biology teacher at Camden Hills Regional High School.

Jacobe, Burne and Vencile were named Maine’s finalists for the award in September.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to exemplary K-12 science and math teachers from across the country. The winners are selected through a rigorous process by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process carried out at the state level. Each year, the award alternates between elementary and secondary education, going either to science and math teachers in grades K through 6 or to those teaching in grades 7 through 12.

Winners of the Presidential Teaching Award receive $10,000 awards from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for a White House awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and science agency leaders.

Jacobe, Burne and Vencile heard from Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen; State Board of Education Chairman James Banks; Laurette Darling, a 2010 Presidential Awardee for Science and an elementary teacher at Albert S. Hall School in Waterville; and others at the banquet.

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