South science teacher selected for Presidential Award
Hinsdale South High School physics teacher David Bonner has been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. He'll travel to Washington, D.C., where he will accept his award and meet President Obama.
Updated: July 23, 2012 6:13AM
David Bonner will have quite a story to tell when asked what he did this summer. First, he has to convince himself his story is real.
“It hasn’t set in. It has just been overwhelming,” said Bonner, recipient of the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Bonner, who received word just last week he was one of 97 teachers nationwide to achieve the honor, will travel to Washington, D.C., later this month to accept his award.
“I’ll get to meet the president,” he said. “That will be awesome.”
A teacher at South for eight years, Bonner was nominated for the honor by Science Department Chairwoman Julie Gaubatz. But it was up to Bonner to do much of the work needed to see the nomination through.
“It was pretty extensive,” he said of the application process, which included letters of recommendation, a 20- to 25-page narrative and a 45-minute video.
Bonner said he is humbled to be chosen for the award, which comes with a $10,000 prize.
“Being nominated by a colleague I deeply respect for such a prestigious award was a very gratifying sentiment, but to actually receive an award of this magnitude and have this opportunity to go to the White House is amazing beyond words,” Bonner said.
“I don’t feel like what I’m doing is so much different,” said Bonner. He said he’s surrounded at Hinsdale South by dedicated, hard-working educators.
“That school is awesome,” he said. “They’re such good kids, and the teachers are so passionate.”
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding kindergarten to 12th grade science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators following an initial selection process at the state level.
Bonner heard in August he was a state finalist, but that didn’t mean he would advance to the national award.
“They don’t have to give it to anybody,” Bonner said.
Principal Brian Waterman said Bonner is deserving.
“His ability to engage students in the learning process and to utilize an inquiry-based model in his classroom is well-known within our learning community and we are excited that he will be recognized on a national level, as well,” he said.
A graduate of Miami University of Ohio, Bonner is working on his doctorate in curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago.