National Teaching Award

Science Teacher Named State-Level Finalist for National Teaching Award

Langley science teacher Ryan McKinney was chosen as one of three state-level finalists in the 2014 Presidential Awards for

Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Program based on outstanding performance in the classroom and his contribution to science education.

Mr. McKinney, who also serves as Langley’s Science Department head, was nominated for the award by a colleague and a student last winter. As part of the application process, he prepared and submitted sample units, lessons, and videos of his classes, including a unit on global climate change in which his students designed their own experiments demonstrating the greenhouse effect. He will be recognized during an awards ceremony at the annual conference of the Virginia Association of Science Teachers in November in Roanoke, VA.

As a state-level finalist, Mr. McKinney will now compete for the prestigious national Presidential Award which is given to one science teacher from each state. A National Science Foundation selection committee will review the applications and announce winners in spring 2015. Awardees will receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation along with the opportunity to spend a week in Washington, DC, with the 49 other winners from each state for meetings with leaders in government and education, sessions to share ideas and teaching experiences, and receptions and banquets to honor recipients.

“When I was a sophomore at The College of William & Mary, my mineralogy professor shared Mahatma Ghandi’s ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ quote with me,” says Mr. McKinney. “As I accumulated more knowledge about our planet, I began to feel that science was an objective process and tool that could help humans understand and love the Earth. To this day, my mission as a teacher, and as a member of society, is to put my passion, talents, and gifts into teaching science with purpose, so that students are motivated to make positive changes in our world. This award helps me feel confident that I am hitting the mark and doing what I set out to do when I chose teaching as a career.”