A Presidential nod for Eastern Technical High School’s Kimberly Burton-Regulski

Eastern Technical Principal Tom Evans, Kimberly Burton-Regulski, and Roger Plunkett, Assistant to the Superintendent

December 15 might have been just another ordinary day teaching mathematics at Eastern Technical High School for Kimberly Burton-Regulski. But Burton-Regulski is no ordinary teacher, and that Wednesday was no ordinary work day.

Instead, she and Eastern Principal Thomas Evans were in Washington, D.C., to meet with President Barack Obama and to accept his congratulations for Burton-Regulski being one of the nation’s 2010 recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

“The highlight of our week was meeting President Obama,” said Burton-Regulski. “(He) congratulated the group and took the time to shake every teacher’s hand after we posed for a group picture.  Meeting the President and receiving the Presidential citations at the recognition ceremony truly validated all the hard work and dedication that we put into our teaching.”

Burton-Regulski, who is mathematics department chair at Eastern Technical, learned in June that she had won the prestigious award, just one of 103 educators in the nation to be recognized. According to program organizers, the award is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through twelfth-grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.

Burton-Regulski accepts her Presidential award

"Teachers like Ms. Burton-Regulski help to make Baltimore County Public Schools the nationally-recognized school system that it is," Superintendent Dr. Joe A. Hairston said. "Ms. Burton-Regulski typifies the excellence we strive for throughout our schools in Baltimore County, and we know that her work extends far beyond her classroom. Teachers of her skill and talent help to strengthen our instructional program and develop and retain new teachers."

The award ceremony was part of an all-expenses-paid four-day visit to Washington as part of the award. She also took home a variety of gifts and awards and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. Winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process at the state level.

During the visit, Burton-Regulski had the opportunity to attend several meetings with members of the National Science Foundation, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and President Obama’s education administration, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

“The main topics of discussion were STEM education and education reform,” Burton-Regulski said. “As a BCPS teacher and a member of a National Blue Ribbon School, I felt well-prepared to discuss the importance of STEM education and to provide suggestions for programs such as teacher mentoring.  I also felt proud of the work that we do in Baltimore County schools every day.

“Meeting the President and receiving the Presidential citation at the recognition ceremony truly validated all the hard work and dedication that we put into our teaching,” Burton-Regulski said. “The overall message from teachers during the week was that teaching the future of our country is an honor and privilege.”

Burton-Regulski was nominated by Evans and then-Assistant Principal Charlene DiMino, who is now principal at Parkville High School. Both attended the December 15 ceremony with Burton-Regulski.

In his letter of nomination, Evans wrote of Burton-Regulski, "She is a leader of leaders in her department. . . . Her leadership has enabled our school to hold the (top) position in mathematics High School Assessment performance in the Baltimore County Public Schools and to make consistent gains in our Advanced Placement performance in Calculus, Statistics, and Computer Science."

Evans said he also was impressed with the December 15 ceremony and the entire four-day experience. “From the carolers in the lobby of The Willard, to the brightly lit National Tree, to the lobby of the Reagan International Center where the reception was held, this was a first-class event,” he said. “In our short time in Washington, we were able to interact with a number of extremely talented math and science teachers from around the country.  These were teachers who represent “model” instructors with their strong content knowledge, a constant focus on student achievement, and adaptability to meet the needs of their students.

“Kim Burton belongs with this group.  She has a passion for the profession and a sincere interest in and concern for her students.” 

A teacher for 12 years, all of them at Eastern Technical High School, Burton-Regulski is a product of Baltimore County Public Schools. She graduated from Loch Raven High School and earned degrees from Towson University and Stevenson University.

Enacted by Congress in 1983, the award program is administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Since the program's inception in 1983, more than 3,900 outstanding teachers have been recognized for their contributions to mathematics and science education.
The award is the second in two years for Baltimore County Public School educators. Last year, Sharon K. Brown, a special education teacher at Oliver Beach Elementary School in Bowleys Quarters, was recognized by the President with the award.

Photo courtesy of Eastern Technical High School
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