MidAmerica Nazarene University alumnus Dennis Burkett, Jr. recently received the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Burkett completed his Master of Education in InstructionaDennis Burkett web imagel Technology at MNU, and presently teaches chemistry at Olathe South High School, a position he has held for the past seven years. In 2007, Burkett was also received the Kansas Horizon Award, which recognizes outstanding first-year teachers.

Burkett's teaching style incorporates technology into everyday classroom activities. He uses podcasts for AP Chemistry lessons and teaches students how to work collaboratively through tools such as Google Docs.

Burkett traveled to Washington D.C. on June 25, along with 96 other math and science teachers from across the country. Recipients of the 2011 were recognized at the White House where they met with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden. The week of recognition activities and professional development wrapped up with an award ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade center, where recipients received certificates signed by President Obama.

"It is a great honor to be considered for the Presidential Award. I am grateful that my style of teaching and method of relating chemistry concepts to students is worthy of such consideration. I have had some amazing mentors and been allowed much latitude in trying new things to make connections for my students. With this recognition, I hope to continue to improve my own methods of teaching and have a greater impact on those with whom I teach."

According to the Office of Science and Technology Policy, PAEMST is the Nation’s highest recognition of K-12 math and science teachers for outstanding teaching in the United States. Since the program began in 1983, more than 4,200 teachers have been recognized with this honor. Burkett holds a B.A. in chemistry from Point Loma Nazarene University; a B.A. in secondary education from the University of Missouri, Kansas City; an M.A. in theological studies from Nazarene Theological Seminary, and an M.Ed. in instructional technology from MidAmerica Nazarene University. For more information and a full list of the 2011 PAEMST recipients, click here.

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