The Folsom Cordova Unified School District is pleased to announce that Mr. Andrew Ivan Kotko, a first grade teacher at Mather Heights Elementary, was named by State Superintendent, Tom Torklason, as a Finalist for the prestigious Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).
Principal, Angi Carlomagno, exclaimed, "Mr. Andy Kotko is a gem of a teacher! His student centered approach in the classroom maximizes active student engagement. His background in math and physics truly make his first grade class a unique experience! Students know what is expected of them and they rise to meet his high standards. Andy's students admire and look up to him because of the care and time he places on making personal connections. He cares and they know!"
Mr. Kotko is one of six California teachers to receive a nod and one of only three nominees in the mathematics category. Andy is a first grade teacher and a member of a district-wide team designing project and inquiry-based mathematics lessons. A National Board Certified Teacher, Mr. Kotko has taught in the Folsom Cordova Unified School District for 10 years and is a graduate of California State University, Sacramento, with a major in physics. He was nominated for the award by a parent of one of his previous students. His video lesson focused on Place Value (Base 10 number systems).
Folsom Cordova Board of Education President, JoAnne Reinking, said, "Andy is an exceptional teacher: dedicated to his profession and our students. We are so fortunate to have him as a member of our district community."
Awards are given to mathematics and science teachers from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions including Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; Department of Defense Schools; and the U.S. territories. Since the program’s inception, 84 California teachers have been named PAEMST recipients. Teachers are recognized for their outstanding contributions to teaching and learning and their ability to help students make progress in mathematics and science and are given expense-paid trips to Washington, D.C. to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, gifts from program sponsors from around the country, and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
District Superintendent, Deborah Bettencourt, also extended her congratulations, "Andy's nomination represents the outstanding caliber of teachers in our district. His passion for student achievement is clear and we are very proud of his accomplishment".
The National Science Foundation administers the PAEMST program on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. It represents the highest recognition that a kindergarten through twelfth grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. The program was enacted by Congress in 1983 and authorizes the President to bestow up to 108 awards each year.
“I congratulate these remarkably talented teachers who are among the most creative and effective in California,” said Torlakson, himself a science teacher-on-leave from Contra Costa County's Mount Diablo Unified School District. “Math and science educators are essential to the future success of students and the future of our state. I greatly appreciate their efforts to make these subjects exciting and inspiring.”