Two Washoe County School District teachers have been named recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Ryan Brock, who teaches fifth grade at Jessie Beck Elementary School, and Stephanie Vega, who teaches kindergarten at Alice Maxwell Elementary School, accepted their awards in Washington, D.C. last month. Each will also receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
Brock has taught in Nevada for 19 years, with 13 of those years at Beck. He has taught fourth through sixth grades, and has served as the school’s kindergarten-through-sixth grade science teacher.
Brock has also provided professional development in science education to teachers through the University of Nevada, Reno, the school district, and Sierra Nevada Journeys.
“Being selected for the presidential award in science is an extreme honor,” Brock said in a statement. “My passion for inspiring students within the sciences has been a lifelong endeavor, and this award has further inspired me to continue these efforts with my students. This award is only possible through the combined effort of all the mentors who inspired me, and reignites the passion to motivate other teachers in science education.”
Vega has been teaching for 10 years and serving as an instructional coach. She has published articles in education journals, and since 2007 she has worked with the Northern Nevada Girls Math & Technology program in various roles, including assistant program director and computer instructor.
“This award provides me with a high-quality professional development opportunity and the ability to network with exemplary teachers, researchers, and mathematics leaders from other states, thereby improving my own instructional practice,” Vega said in a statement. “The presidential award is also an opportunity to share my passion for teaching mathematics to at-risk students through a social justice lens, and to demonstrate student learning and success in an inquiry-based classroom.”