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For immediate release
Friday, Jan. 3, 2014

President Obama honors Oakland University instructor as one of America's most outstanding math and science teachers

Oakland University instructor Brian Peterson
     Rochester, Mich. – President Barack Obama recently named Oakland University instructor Brian Peterson of Rochester as one of 102 mathematics and science teachers to receive the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. This year's awardees represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Department of Defense Education Activity. The educators will receive their awards at an upcoming event in Washington.

In addition to his role at Oakland, where he teaches Science for Elementary Teachers, Peterson has taught fifth grade at Musson Elementary School in the Rochester Community Schools for 14 years. He is also an educational instructor at the Detroit Zoological Society, leading the society's overnight programs.

"Brian is an outstanding elementary school science teacher and teacher educator. He is a valued instructor at Oakland University and is an inspiration to his students and his fellow teachers alike" said Robert A. Wiggins, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Teacher Development and Educational Studies. "With this Presidential Award, Brian joins an elite group of math and science educators from across the country and, on behalf of the entire faculty, I offer my congratulations."

Peterson, who received Michigan's Elementary Science Teacher of the Year award in 2011, said of his new national recognition, "I strongly believe that teaching is a job of passion. Teachers have this passion to pass on knowledge to change the lives of individuals. The Presidential Award is a reminder that my passion for teaching is not going unnoticed and that education is a vital part of our country." 

Peterson earned his B.A. in education from North Park University and his M.Ed. and an Education Specialist Degree in educational leadership and administration from Oakland University.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Each year the award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through sixth grade and those teaching seventh through 12th grades.

Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. They also are invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the administration.

"These teachers are inspiring today's young students to become the next generation of American scientists, mathematicians and innovators," President Obama said. "Through their passion and dedication, and by sharing their excitement about science, technology, engineering and math, they are helping us build a promising future for all our children."

Excellent math and science teachers are critical to getting more students engaged in the increasingly important science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. That's why President Obama has committed to strengthening STEM education and has called for preparing 100,000 excellent science and mathematics teachers over the next decade.

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