It’s not every day that science instructors get recognized by the President of the United States, but Severna Park High School physics teacher Barry Hopkins was notified by the White House that he had been named Maryland’s winner of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). The award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science teaching.
Hopkins has been teaching in Anne Arundel County Public Schools for 37 years, the last 18 at Severna Park High School. He currently teaches Advanced Placement (AP) Physics and Honors Physics.
Award winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level.
Hopkins has also served on the curriculum and pacing guide writing committees for every physics course currently offered in the county, as well as on committees for the AP Physics audits required by the College Board. He continues to be a member of the evaluation and selection committees for textbooks and other instructional materials for the county physics programs.
“Barry is the physics teacher’s master teacher,” said AACPS Coordinator of Science Rochelle Slutskin said. “He is the consummate professional who is always hosting other physics teachers in professional conversation whether it be about new technologies, how to scaffold instruction, or what the big ideas of physics are and why they are critical for students to know and understand.”
Winners of the Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also are invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the Administration.