Burnett Wins Presidential Science Award

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - May 16, 2007
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Waialua Elementary School science teacher Paul Burnett Jr. has been named one of Hawaii’s two recipients of the 2006 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Considered the nation’s highest honor for K-12 math and science teachers, Burnett and Hokulani Elementary math teacher Shari Kaneshiro will be recognized this week in Washington, D.C. They each won an all-expense paid trip to the capital as well as a cash prize of $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.

“I am very proud and happy for Mr. Burnett,” said principal Scott Moore, a Mililani resident. “He does excellent work, and it reflects highly on the rest of our school.” Burnett, who has been at Waialua for eight years, is a dedicated and conscientious teacher, he added.

Burnett teaches everything - math, science, physical education, reading, writing - but his award is for science.

“One of his strengths,” Moore explained, “is that he tries to make it practical and hands-on for the students. They apply math and science in the hydro-ponics greenhouse that is set up using soil but no water.”

“I’m honored to represent our school and faculty as we have three Milken Award winners and the state teacher of the year award,” said Burnett just prior to his trip. “Our school is motivated to be leaders in the community.

“I like interacting with students and being creative. Within time they will be our future.”

Moore noted Waialua has a variety of afternoon academies so its 530 students can apply what they learn to real-life settings through hydroponics, media, travel, music and drama.

Burnett will spend May 14-19 in D.C., accompanied by his wife, Cari Nishimura-Burnett. Also on the agenda are professional development activities and meetings with government and education leaders.

A local recognition luncheon for the six state finalists is planned for May 26 at the Halekulani hotel.

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