Four teachers have won awards in the 11th annual Marian Greenblatt Education Fund program, which recognizes teachers for their excellence in motivating and educating students.
In addition, the fund recognized students at 20 high schools for their excellence in social studies.
Elaine Chang, science teacher at Tilden Middle School, and Charles Jon Goetz and Michael Willard, physics teachers at Richard Montgomery High School, shared $2,000 in prize money, awarded in ceremonies at their schools.
David Zaleski, a science teacher at Paint Branch High School, received $500 as the winner of the Greenblatt Excellence in Teaching First Year Teacher Award, established two years ago to encourage talented teachers to remain in the school system.
Chang, who is currently in her sixth year of teaching, has earned widespread attention for her work in science education. This spring, she coached a Tilden team that won an award in the Washington area Botball tournament, in which students had to design, build and program a robot to carry out specific tasks. In a previous project, her students built a topographic map of Mars and vehicles programmed to run on the surface.
Goetz joined the Richard Montgomery High School staff in 1994. He has pioneered a program there to link the Matter and Energy course with Algebra 1, which integrates math and science classes for ninth graders. Supported by a grant its first year, the program has continued this year as enrollment doubled from 24 to 48 students.
Willard has taught physics at Richard Montgomery since joining the school system in 1987. In his classes, he has involved students in a wide range of hands-on demonstrations to communicate abstract scientific concepts. Under his guidance, students have applied their new knowledge to build devices to solve various engineering programs and have used technological media, such as the Internet, to make class presentations.
Zaleski, who teaches Honors Physics, engineering science, and Matter and Energy, uses his background as a mechanical engineer to present classroom demonstrations that illustrate concepts being taught. During his first year of teaching, Zaleski already has received praise for the high expectations he sets for students and their above-level proficiency in the subject matter taught.
A committee of current and former teachers selected the Greenblatt winners in April, and the awards were presented at the winners' schools in May and June. The winner of the first-year teacher award was chosen from the nominees for the Sallie Mae First Class Teacher Awards.
The Excellence in Teaching program was established in honor of the late Marian Greenblatt, a member of the county Board of Education from 1976 to 1984 and its president from 1978 to 1979, who believed that excellent teachers should be recognized and that social studies be given prominence in the curriculum.