When most teachers are selected as one of 100 in the country to receive an award from the president, their colleagues are surprised. But when Sand Creek Middle School Science Teacher James Brown found out last week he was being honored, his co-workers weren't.
Brown was named by President Barack Obama as a recipient of a Presidential Award for Excellence.
Brown will receive his award, which includes $10,000 from the National Science Foundation to be used at his discretion, on an unknown date in the fall at the White House. The teachers will also receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the awards ceremony, as well as several days of educational events with members of Congress and science agency leaders.
In order to qualify for the awards, the teachers needed to be nominated. Brown said his nomination was made by Sand Creek Principal David Perry. The winners are then chosen by a panel of scientists, mathematicians and educators on the federal level, after they have been selected by a similar panel on a state level.
Brown has stood out in the district before, as he has made strides to help the district complete several energy efficiency projects and traveled to the Galapagos Islands last year with other teachers from across the country to study ecosystems and bring back what he learned to his home district.
Speaking on behalf of Sand Creek, Associate Principal Jill Penn said the school is proud of Brown, but not surprised.
Jim is one of those teachers who consistently goes above and beyond, she said. "I'm not surprised because he's certainly more than deserving."
Penn said the school found out after Brown received word he had won the award from a spokesman for the president.
"There is no higher calling than furthering the educational advancement of our nation's young people and encouraging and inspiring our next generation of leaders," Obama said in a written statement. "These awards represent a heartfelt salute of appreciation to a remarkable group of individuals who have devoted their lives and careers to helping others and in doing so, have helped us all."