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For Release: October 2, 2002

Six New Jersey Teachers Recognized for Presidential Awards

The New Jersey Board of Education today recognized six teachers for outstanding service and commitment to their classrooms as part of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching program. Four of the teachers won the prestigious award in 2001. Two are finalists for 2002.

The four national-award winners for 2001 are:

  • Aldona Skrypa, a math teacher at Tory J. Sabatini School in Madison, Morris County;
  • Paula Thatcher, a science teacher at Mansfield Township School in Port Murray, Warren County;
  • Cynthia Purcell, a math teacher at Frelinghuysen Middle School in Morris Township, Morris County; and
  • Loris Chen, a science teacher at Eisenhower Middle School in Wyckoff, Bergen County.

The two state finalists for 2002, both in the category of Elementary Science, are Susan MacDougall of the Brick Community Primary Learning Center in Brick, Ocean County; and Rosemary Beales of A. A. Anastasia School in Long Branch, Monmouth County.

"It is a great privilege to recognize and honor both our four 2001 award winners and our two finalists for 2002," Commissioner of Education William L. Librera said. "This entire group is exemplary of the type of leadership we want in our classrooms day in and day out."

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. The award also includes expense-paid activities in Washington D.C., where award-winners receive certificates signed by the President.

For 2001, Aldona Skrypa won the award in the elementary mathematics category. Paula Thatcher won in the elementary science category. Cynthia Purcell won in the secondary mathematics category and Loris Chen won in the secondary science category.

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 better learn concepts in mathematics and science.

The two state finalists for 2002, Susan MacDougall and Rosemary Beales, receive a National Science Foundation state award for excellence and a $750 case 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 four categories: elementary and secondary mathematics, and elementary and secondary science.

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

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