Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A pair of middle school teachers in San Diego County were named Tuesday as state finalists for the 2015 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching.

Genevieve Esmende, of Wangenheim Middle School in Mira Mesa, and Kathleen McHeffey, of Meadowbrook Middle School in Poway, are among five state finalists for the award.

Another five finalists were named for a similar honor for science instruction — none in the San Diego area.

“These remarkable teachers are dedicated, passionate, knowledgeable and use innovative teaching methods that help prepare our students to thrive in a world in which technology changes at a breathtaking pace,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. “They are helping to turn our students into problem-solvers who can be the innovators and inventors of tomorrow.”

The state Department of Education, California Science Teachers Association and California Mathematics Council recruited and selected nominees for what’s considered the highest recognition in the nation for a math or science teacher.

State finalists were selected by a review panel of their peers who reviewed each candidate’s content knowledge, effectiveness, achievement results and professional involvement.

Esmende, a teacher for 15 years, is a master teacher fellow for Math for America San Diego, through which she mentors new middle school math teachers.

McHeffey, an instructor for 25 years, helps plan and present professional development events throughout the Poway Unified School District.

—City News Service