Six are finalists for Presidential Awards

Six Massachusetts teachers have been selected as finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Established by Congress in 1983 and administered by the National Science Foundation, the awards not only recognize individual achievement, but, according to an NSF statement, also aims to have winners "serve as models for their colleagues, inspirations to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education."

The awards are given to teachers of grades K-6 in even-numbered years and teachers of grades 7-12 in odd-numbered years.

The finalists, who were honored at a State House ceremony on Nov. 7, include:

  • Jesus Hernandez, of Lawrence High School, who teaches 11th and 12th grade astronomy and advanced placement and honors physics.
  • Amy Lena, of the A.W. Coolidge Middle School in Reading, who teaches 7th grade mathematics and 8th grade honors algebra.
  • Marsha Ohanesian, of the Sullivan Middle School in Worcester, who teaches all levels of 8th grade mathematics.
  • Cathie Pollack, of Haverhill High School, who teaches geometry, honors geometry and honors calculus.
  • June Thall, of the Remington Middle School in Franklin, who teaches 7th grade science.
  • Linda Weber, of Natick High School, who teaches 10th, 11th and 12th grade chemistry and honors chemistry.

Two of these six teachers -- one from math, one from science -- will be chosen as Massachusetts winners in March. Winners receive $10,000; a trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in recognition events and professional development activities; and a citation from President Bush.