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Richard Vespucci     
    Kathryn Forsyth, Director

For Release: May 29, 2007

Two NJ Educators Named National Winners of
Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Two New Jersey elementary school teachers have been selected as national winners of the 2006 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

New Jersey’s two winners in the prestigious national recognition program are Jayne King, a mathematics teacher at Hartford School, Mount Laurel School District, Burlington County; and Christine Ward-Diaz, a science teacher at East Brook Middle School, Paramus Public Schools, Bergen County.

“These teachers bring their distinctive talents and love of their profession to the classroom every day, enriching the academic experience of their students,” said Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy.  “Their accomplishments define them as model educators for their peers and students in New Jersey and throughout the nation.”
Jane King, whose career in education spans 27 years, has taught at the Hartford School for the past 12 years.  She currently teaches math and social studies to fifth graders as part of the school’s two-teacher team approach, which she helped establish at her school.

She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974 with bachelors degrees in psychology and education.

Christine Ward-Diaz has taught at East Brook Middle School for eight of her ten years in education.  She teaches all of the fifth grade science courses offered by her school, as well as one section each of mathematics and advanced mathematics.

Ward-Diaz holds a bachelors degree in elementary education from the University of Scranton and a masters in environmental studies from Montclair State University. She has received a grant from the Toshiba America Foundation and the Unsung Hero award from ING.  She was named her school’s Teacher of the Year in 2004-05.

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

New Jersey submitted the applications of four state finalists for national consideration.  In addition to King and Ward-Diaz, the New Jersey state finalists were Kimberly Mueller, a Cinnaminson resident and kindergarten teacher at the Florence L. Walther School in Lumberton, Burlington County; and Luella Vengenock, a Salem resident and second grade teacher at the Alloway Township School in Salem County.

The PAEMST, established in 1983 by the White House and administered by the National Science Foundation, is the most prestigious public award for teachers of mathematics and science that the federal government has to offer.  In alternate years, the program honors teachers in grades K-6 and 7-12.  Candidates must have taught science or mathematics for at least five years.

For more information about awards in education, visit the DOE Web-site: