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Contact: Richard Vespucci
For Release: July 7, 1999

State Board Honors Math, Science Teachers for Presidential Awards

Local Interest

The State Board of Education today honored 10 New Jersey mathematics and science teachers for their accomplishments. All 10 of the teachers participated in the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching. Two of them received 1998 Presidential Awards, and eight were selected as state finalists for the 1999 program.

The two national award-winning teachers are Denise Marie Grippaldi, who teaches at Edison High School, Edison; and Daniel Brian Weissman, who teaches at the M.E. McKeown Elementary School in Newton.

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the nation's highest honor for teachers of mathematics and science in grades K-12. Each national award consists of a $7,500 grant from the National Science Foundation to the recipient's school to be spent at the teacher's direction, and expense-paid activities in Washington, D.C., during which the national award winners receive certificates signed by the President.

"I am proud today to join the State Board in honoring such a prestigious group of teachers," said Commissioner of Education David Hespe. "You symbolize what is best in teaching these two critical subjects. You deserve our praise and gratitude for your innovative and exemplary efforts to help your students succeed."

Teachers are selected for the program based on their teaching performance, background and experience, and their participation in activities both in and out of school that relate to their roles as teachers. Applicants must demonstrate how their teaching enables students to learn important processes and concepts in science and mathematics.

Each of the 1999 state-level finalists received a National Science Foundation state award for excellence and a $750 cash award. A national selection committee will review the application packets of the state finalists and recommend a national winner for each state in each of the corresponding four categories: elementary mathematics, secondary mathematics, elementary science, and secondary science.

The eight 1999 state finalists from New Jersey are:

  • Loris Chen, a seventh-grade teacher at North Arlington Middle School, North Arlington, for secondary science.
  • Angela Deeney, a teacher at Euclid Elementary School, Hasbrouck Heights, for elementary mathematics.
  • Betty Garrity, a teacher at Arthur Rann Middle School, Absecon, for secondary mathematics.
  • Bonnie Gentesse, a teacher at Washington Elementary School, Union, for elementary science.
  • Linda Hess, a teacher at Green-Fields Elementary School, Woodbury, for elementary mathematics.
  • Jacqueline Lutman, a teacher at Parker Elementary School in Middlesex, for elementary mathematics.
  • Beverly Nelson, a teacher at Hackensack High School, for secondary science.
  • Linda Smith, a science resource specialist for the Paulsboro Public Schools, for elementary science.

The National Science Foundation began the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching in 1983 by inviting each state to nominate math and science teachers for consideration in the national program. Teachers must have taught science or mathematics for at least five years. Nominations are made by students, parents, administrators, teachers and others. A statewide committee of science and mathematics educators made statewide selections.

For more information, contact the Office of Innovative Programs at the New Jersey Department of Education, 609-777-0800.