AUGUSTA — Two science teachers and one math teacher from Maine have been announced as finalists for the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The National Science Foundation, known for its rigorous selection process, will select one mathematics and one science winner per state to be recognized next spring in Washington, D.C.
The three Maine teachers are 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.
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.
Ken Vencile has taught for 14 years. He teaches biology at Camden Hills Regional High School, part of the Five Towns Community School District. He is certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which also requires a rigorous process for selection. Vencile is involved in local student activities, including as the sophomore class adviser. He has worked in his district to improve literacy in science and to integrate technology, and has served as a student teacher mentor. He is co-author of three scientific journal articles on soft-shell clams.
Jacobe, who teaches Algebra II, Honors Algebra II and pre-calculus at Bonny Eagle High School in Regional School Unit 6, has taught for 19 years and has been the mathematics department chairwoman since 2006.
Burne, who teaches seventh-grade science in Southwest Harbor, part of the Mount Desert Island Regional School System, is a mentor teacher for College of the Atlantic students and a teacher leader for Youth as Citizen Scientists, a project to promote science, technology, engineering,and mathematics, or STEM, learning. She is a recipient of the Governor’s Award for Exemplary Service and Volunteerism, and received the Golden Apple Exemplary Educator Award from the Mount Desert Island Rotary Club.